The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Chamber of Commerce issues proposal for government to extend support to more businesses

Tuesday, 7 April 2020, 17:18 Last update: about 3 months ago

In its drive to support businesses counter the effects of the current crisis, The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has once again presented the government with a costed proposal to extend its support to more businesses based on their loss of turnover.

In its new proposal, The Malta Chamber argues that assistance at this juncture needs to be provided to all businesses irrespective of the economic sector they operate in, as this should be based on the loss of turnover they are currently experiencing when compared to the corresponding period last year.

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"Eligibility to government's assistance would hence be calculated according to the percentage loss of turn-over experienced by the business. Companies that lose more than half of their turnover are to be supported by wage subsidies equivalent to €800 per month per employee and companies that lose over a quarter are to be afforded a €400 benefit per month per employee."

At the same time, to ensure a judicious distribution of public funds, the Chamber recommended the possibility of eventual verifications by Government through the VAT returns of beneficiary companies with the possibility of reclaiming funds in the eventuality of ineligible cases.

"At this extraordinary time, The Malta Chamber has been on the front-line to help businesses as well as Government to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis" said David Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber. "The assistance provided so far has helped to mend the gushing wounds of the economy, and has already gone a long way, however the country's economic prospects are far from healthy. Companies and households alike cannot be allowed to run out of money, so it is deemed absolutely essential for the government to ensure that workers' incomes are sustained and aggregate demand maintained, while minimising costs for collapsing businesses. In order to do so, the government must not be averse to increasing its debt and disregard any previous commendable targets for debt/GDP ratios. "

"The urgent priority at this point of utter emergency is to ensure that the economy survives to see the future. The future will then deal with the debt incurred today for the purposes of ensuring a tomorrow."

The statement read that the Chamber's fresh proposals "are covered by detailed costings that refer to the possible needs of a wide cross-section of sectors taken individually which are being affected by the contagion, from hard-hit sectors to rest of the economy."

The study calculates that the measure will cost the government and additional €48.3million per month on top of the measures which the government already put in place.

See the executive summary here.


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