Minister for Finance and Financial Services Edward Scicluna presented the Government’s priorities for the 2021 Budget with the launch of the pre-budget document with the theme, ‘Towards a Sustainable Economy’.
This document will be launched with a view to further strengthen the consultation process with both the social partners and the public, as it forms the basis of the annual consultation meetings held by the Minister for Finance and Financial Services before each Budget.
The document also gives an overview of the financial and economic situation of our country while providing the economic and fiscal forecasts for the year 2021. This year due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, this document also gives an account of the measures announced by the Government in order to mitigate the economic impact on Maltese and Gozitan families and businesses.
Minister Scicluna said, “thanks to the wise policy of this Government, in the next budget we can afford to continue to provide measures to safeguard the standard of living of our families and businesses, despite the blow in the public finances left by the pandemic.”
Minister Scicluna gave an account of the measures announced in the Economic Regeneration Plan. As a result of these measures, workers’ incomes in the second quarter of this year were protected from the economic blow of COVID-19 as wages and salaries increased by € 55 million, compared to the same period in 2019. On the other hand, despite unemployment increased slightly, our country recorded the third lowest unemployment rate among all countries of the European Union in July of this year.
Those who have bought and sold their property have altogether saved around € 21 million in tax, spread over around 2,400 contracts. The tax deferral by the end of May reached € 60 million, while by the end of June 13 companies and 237 small and medium-sized businesses benefited from the Interest Subsidy Scheme. The largest financial aid was provided by the Covid Wage Supplement which by the end of July had reached € 160 million, benefiting around 79,500 workers, 11,400 self-employed and around 4,200 companies.
Minister Scicluna said that this government will continue to be prudent and will plan the budget wisely so that it will continue to spend on those measures that are most effective for families and our businesses. He went on to say that through the 2021 Budget, the Government will continue to invest in the principles on which the vision of this Government for our country is based.
The pre-Budget 2021 document is accessible electronically from the website of the Ministry of Finance and Financial Services.