The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Wage supplement, validity of government vouchers extended until end of October

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 2 September 2020, 10:44 Last update: about 2 years ago

The Covid-19 wage supplement and the validity of the government-issued vouchers has been extended until the end of October, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Wednesday.

“I am aware many are concerned that the Covid-19 wage supplement is only valid until the end of September, but I wish to announce that the wage supplement and the vouchers will be extended until the end of October.”

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Abela was speaking during a dialogue meeting with the members of the Malta Chamber on Wednesday.  He stated that by the end of October the Government will announce the 2021 National Budget, which will include details of longer term measures for government assistance to businesses and a revision to the current model of the wage supplement beyond October.

“In the upcoming budget, we intend to give another boost to our economy, similar to what we did last June, but would be more comprehensive as we will look beyond businesses, and continue to ensure that we boost the standard of living of pensioners and those on the lower spectrum.”

The wage supplement is probably the most significant measure introduced by the government in its economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Announced last March, businesses are classified according to the effect that the pandemic has had on them and are eligible to apply for a financial supplement which will go towards the salary of their employees. 

Over 100,000 workers have received the wage supplement since it was introduced.

The government set of vouchers is a stimulus measure meanwhile which was introduced in a government 'mini-budget', wherein all those living in Malta received €100 in vouchers to use at various types of outlets such as restaurants, accomodation venues, and retail stores who were hit by the pandemic.  

These were initially only valid until the end of September.

He said that the 2021 Budget has five pillars, good governance, economic growth and better quality of life, improving infrastructure, education and achieving carbon neutral by 2050. “In a few short months we have created a system, based on discussion with the Venice Commission on a democratic European vision.”

Speaking about the Moneyval report, Abela stated that a lot of hard work is being done and significant progress has been registered, with the focus of all efforts being on reaching the targets in time. “My government is fully committed to ensure that there is adequate resourcing in the police force technical staff, especially in the financial crime unit.”

He highlighted that prior to 2013, the FIU budget was half a million and just 10 people employed there, whilst now the budget is over €10 million and with over a 100 people employed.

He highlighted that in the past eight months; the government has constantly faced challenges and taken on difficult strategic decisions. “A good work ethic, with no honeymoon period, we were constantly faced with taking difficult strategic decisions which could not go wrong.  Was the handling of the pandemic perfect? I am confident that time will judge our approach as we were efficient, and we found the perfect delicate balance of protecting lives and livelihoods.”

 

Abela also mentioned the reopening of schools, which have been closed now for six months. “The final decisions will be taken in accordance with the scientific advice which health Authorities will give us.”

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