The Malta Independent 6 August 2020, Thursday

Coronavirus: Economy could contract by up to 10 percentage points - Scicluna

Wednesday, 25 March 2020, 20:36 Last update: about 5 months ago

Malta's economy could decrease by up to 10 percentage points as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said on Wednesday.

Speaking in Parliament about the economic measures announced by the government this week, Scicluna said government revenue would decrease as a result of tax deferrals.

The government is also spending millions to help safeguard jobs and is spending an additional €100 million on healthcare services.


Some European countries will move close to bankruptcy because they have high debts, he said. He added, however, that Malta's public finances are healthy and the country has a debt of around 45 per cent of GDP.

Also speaking during the debate, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said the government was being reactive and selective and had acted too late because many jobs have already been lost.

The government, he said, should use the €70 million that will be saved as a result of cheaper oil prices to help families. He again insisted that the government should reduce utility tariffs and noted that other countries had not only pledged to save jobs but promised that workers would not lose a cent.

Winding up the debate, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said Malta was taking the same approach of many EU countries and were introducing staggered measures.

No government in Europe presented packages from A to Z, he said, adding that the measures announced so far were carried out at the right time and at the right stage.

He lambasted the Opposition, saying it acts according to comments posted on the social media. "This is not the way to run a country," he said.

Schembri said the Opposition's proposal for the government to pay half of wages across the board would be "financial suicide."





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