The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Coronavirus: Government urged to act now to help ailing Gozitan businesses

Monday, 16 March 2020, 14:17 Last update: about 3 years ago

The Gozo Business Chamber has called on the government to provide substantial cash injection into businesses.

The current Covid-19 situation has had a heavy impact on businesses, particularly in Gozo, which is more reliant on tourism, and where a number of large and small businesses already planning a closure having their cash flow dwindling down to practically nothing, GBC said.

"For these businesses nothing, except a heavy subsidy on wages, will keep them above the surface."


GBC said "it is neither just nor equitable that businesses are being called by Government to shoulder the burden of quarantine leave. The call by the unions was heeded to the full and Goverment acceded by transferring the problem to the most vulnerable, aiding to the collapse of businesses."

It welcomed the government's help for companies to switch to teleworking but noted that this will not help all sectors, including manufacturing, retail, transport, and construction.

The acceleration of payments to the private sector was welcomed by the Chamber.

It said, however, that while it is positive that the government has protracted VAT and NI Contributions payments, this does not help in the long run.

"What the Chamber is proposing is that from March onwards and for as long as this situation subsists, employers are only bound to pay 50% of National Insurance contributions."

GBC said it is inviting the government to discuss s a specific programme of incentives for Gozitan businesses. "Gozitan businesses cannot afford more days in this situation let alone weeks and months."

It called on the government to act incisively by providing (together with the banks) substantial cash injection into businesses by the way of grants and loans (at subsidized rates) as other Governments are doing all over the EU.

"Government is called to consult with Gozitan institutions so that a specific package is drawn out to aid businesses on the sister island with immediate effect."

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