The Malta Independent 15 June 2024, Saturday
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€25.8m in government vouchers used until 1 September, with consumers spending additional €11.5m

Giulia Magri Thursday, 3 September 2020, 13:51 Last update: about 5 years ago

Until 1 September, consumers had spent €25.8 million in €100 vouchers issued by the government plus an additional €11.5 million, for a total of €37.3 million, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said Thursday.

The voucher scheme was announced back in June as part of the Government’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan, providing residents over the age of 16 with €100 vouchers.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced that the validity of the vouchers and the COVID-19 wage supplement would be extended to the end of October.

Addressing the media, Schembri said that the scheme was extremely popular among the public and businesses. He added that critics said it would have been easier to provide cheques, rather than providing the public with vouchers. “By providing people with a cheque, most individuals would rather put the cheque into their savings, which would not have been effective in stimulating economic activity.”

So far, 2.23 million €20 vouchers were issued, which adds to a total value of €44.6 million. Schembri explained that 1.29 million vouchers have been used so far.

He said that €25.8 million have been spent in government vouchers, bringing the total of generated income from the voucher scheme up to €37.3 million, with €5.7 million in VAT revenue.

54,000: record transaction of vouchers used in one day

Whilst the government cannot trace back how customers use their vouchers due to data protection measures, the government does have the data of how many vouchers have been used in certain establishments.

The most popular establishments for using vouchers are on four-star accommodation, very popular restaurants and a variety of big retail groups.

Schembri said that voucher usage is most common during the weekend, but that August, due to Santa Marija shut-down, saw a wider spread of voucher activity. The highest transaction of vouchers took place on Saturday 8 August, when 54,000 vouchers were used, amounting to a total expenditure of €1,080,000. An average consumption of 46,000 vouchers was used every Saturday.

A total of 5,616 outlets are part of the scheme. 1,447 VAT numbers are accepting red vouchers, 2,904 VAT numbers are accepting blue vouchers and 89 VAT numbers accept both.

Red vouchers most popular; 82.62% used

Schembri noted that the red vouchers have been slightly more popular. 82.62% of red vouchers – used in accommodation or restaurants - have been used, whilst 17.38% of blue vouchers, valid in retail outlets, have been used.

The red vouchers had a multiplier effect of 1.36, with an additional €7.16 spent with every €20 voucher. That means a total of €29.1 million was generated through red vouchers, with a €7.7 million additional spend from customers.

When it comes to the blue vouchers, the vouchers had a multiplier effect of 1.82, with an extra €16.42 spent with every €20 voucher. This generated a total of €8.4 million and an additional €3.8 million spent from customers.

4,432 cases of people not receiving vouchers

Two helplines were set up, one for businesses and another for consumers to contact authorities with any issues they may have. Mimcol received 9,400 emails from consumers, and 3,800 emails from businesses. There were 4,432 cases of people saying that they had not received their vouchers, and 25 cases were rejected.

The main issues businesses experienced was businesses who failed to receive their activation codes seny by the post, whilst others had more technical issues related to NACE code category, credit card details and mobile issues. For consumers, a number of persons had lost their voucher tracking number, and 250 Maltese nationals have failed to receive their vouchers.

So far, 97.6% of Maltese residents, 61.6% of EU residents and 79.4% of non-EU residents have collected their vouchers.

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