While addressing a news conference with the theme of ‘Maltin b’Saħħitna ‘l Quddiem – Moving forward together’, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri outlined the details pertaining to the aid and the schemes which were introduced in recent months in order to protect businesses and safeguarded several jobs, as well as to present the way forward for businesses.
“This is the most extensive budget ever presented in the history of our country. During this extraordinary time, we have ensured that our businesses are sustained, reaffirmed the confidence we have in them, compelling them to take a step further and invest. In this, we shall remain standing shoulder to shoulder with them and our workers”, said Silvio Schembri.
More than €233 million has been paid for the Wage Supplement from March to September this year. Minister Schembri added that through this budget more than €200 million have been voted to safeguard jobs through the Covid Wage Supplement.
This has assisted 78,357 workers in Malta and 4,201 in Gozo, amounting to a total of 85,000 workers.
In the context of the Wage Supplement, the number of businesses receiving aid was 16,894.
Regarding the Telework scheme, it was explained that by 19 October there were 662 applications and the amount paid towards this scheme was € 899,813.
Regarding the Quarantine Leave scheme, as of 19 October there were 2,664 applications. The total amount approved was that of €1,821,750, while the sum of €1,639,400 has already been paid out.
The period for businesses to apply for and benefit from the rent rebate scheme and a 50% rebate on electricity bills has recently reached its deadline.
Regarding the 50% scheme in the electricity bills and for which a budget of €35 million was allocated, the number of applications submitted to Malta Enterprise was 6,422 which amounts to a total of 7,274 bills.
Regarding the rent refund scheme for which a budget of €45 million was allocated and from which businesses could benefit from a maximum of €2,500, Malta Enterprise received 4,405 applications from businesses and the self-employed while there are 4,954 individual lease contracts.
Minister Schembri explained that there were less than 16,000 applications submitted, which is the total number of businesses that benefited from the Wage Supplement. This is due to the fact that certain businesses do not consume as much electricity. There are also activities that do not require rented space to operate, while there are also those who fall into the category of casa bottega who cannot apply because in their case the electricity meter is a domestic one and not a commercial one.
In addition, there is the VAT exemption scheme, i.e. those earning up to €30,000 a year now not being required to collect VAT but being able to operate as VAT exempt businesses, therefore reducing the amount of administrative work involved for those small businesses and self-employed who are either small or just starting out. This threshold has been increased from €20,000 to €30,000 per year. This will also save on administrative costs and therefore will also serve as financial aid for these small businesses.
Malta Enterprise Chief Executive Kurt Farrugia explained that a scheme aimed at companies employing less than 50 people to undertake innovation projects will be launched in the near future, a scheme, that as announced in the budget will aid technological investments which improve the operation of companies and which will be covering up to 50% of the cost, all the while continuing to bolster existing schemes to further help existing sectors while attracting new ones.