Prime Minister announces €1.8 billion aid package to counter the impact of COVID-19

The government has announced a €1.8 billion aid package to help businesses struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This was announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri during a press conference at Castille on Wednesday night.

The package includes €700 million in tax deferrals, €900 million in loan guarantees, and a €210 million injection to assist the economy, which includes €35 million to health authorities to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Robert Abela described the measures as “strong and ambitious” and said that they would “protect people and all workers who work in Malta, without any distinction”.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna described the Government’s aid package, which equals 12.9% of Malta’s GDP, as better than the average. He also said that the Eurozone will be facing a recession and that Malta’s economy will be internally and externally impacted.

A special unit has been set up at Malta Enterprise to assist businesses.

Key measures include:

  • €700 million in tax deferrals.
  • €900 million in government guarantees to companies are expected to open up the availability of credit and loans to the tune of €4.5 billion that would give companies additional liquidity.
  • Health authorities have been allocated an additional budget of €35 million to combat Covid-19.
  • Government to pay companies €350 per employee on quarantine leave.
  • Government will cover an additional two months leave for families who could not telework to take care of their children as a result of school closures with an €800 per month benefit.
  • Government Housing Subsidies will increase for those families where one dependent had their employment terminated.
  • Companies registering 25% less sales will benefit from the pay for 1 day per week per employee.
  • A business that had to close as part of the Covid-19 measures will get 2 days of assistance out of every 5 days of work lost per employee.
  • A self-employed person who lost work will also receive this benefit which is similarly capped at €800 per month. A self-employed person who employs others will get 3 days per week of assistance for himself/herself and 2 days per week for every employee.
  • A Maltese or EU citizen who becomes redundant as from March 9th will get special unemployment benefits capped at €800 per month as unemployment benefits. People with disabilities who are unable to work from home or stop working due to health concerns will get the same benefit.
  • People in a rental property and who lose their job and did not qualify for rent subsidy will now benefit from the scheme.
  • A third-country national who becomes unemployed will get no financial assistance but JobsPlus will help to find alternative work. Also, work applications “for new third-country nationals” will note be accepted except for those who are highly-skilled.
  • A company that makes third-country employees redundant cannot apply for a work permit for a third-country national in the future.

Tags: Aid package | Coronavirus | malta |