The Malta Independent 4 August 2021, Wednesday

€16m in Covid-19 vouchers spent in six weeks; 37,851 eligible people yet to collect them

Jake Aquilina Thursday, 22 July 2021, 11:38 Last update: about 13 days ago

Some €16 million in vouchers have been spent in the first six weeks since the second scheme was introduced, while 37,851 people are still to collect them from their respective post branches, Minister for Economy and Industry, Silvio Schembri, said today.

A second round of 100 vouchers per perspn aged over 16 was introduced in June to further stimulate the economy after a first batch of vouchers were distributed last year.

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The  vouchers were split blue and red, with four €10 blue ones given to be used at retail and services shops, and another four €15 ones were to be used at restaurants and accommodation facilities. In total, €50 million was allocated.

The minister remarked that if one sees the multiplier effect of the first round of vouchers last year, it would mean that for every €1 was spent in vouchers, an additional €1 was spent.

When the first scheme was launched last year, €45 million were spent from vouchers only, with a total of €90 million spent by consumers.

Now, the minister remarked that due to the fact that people are more calm and willing to go out due to the vaccine, he expects that the multiplier to be higher than the previous batch.

Schembri noted that up until this week, in around six weeks, €16 million in vouchers had already been used through 500,000 transactions. €6 million of these were digital vouchers, while €10 million were physical vouchers. The average daily transaction value therefore stands at €390,000, and the average weekend daily transaction value (Friday to Sunday) stands at €624,000.

From the data gathered, up till now, €9.2 million in red vouchers were used while the reast, €6.9 million, were blue vouchers. The number of outlets accepting blue vouchers is 4,092, while those accepting red vouchers is 2,585, for a total of 6,677 outlets accepting vouchers.

When it comes to the distribution of the vouchers, 328,503 persons were eligible for the vouchers. 290,652 have collected their vouchers either digitally or physically, while 37,851 have yet to collect them from post offices in Malta and Gozo.

“These need to go to their local Maltapost post office with their identity card to collect them,” the minister said.

For this round of vouchers, Schembri said that the government has introduced a tracking system for those who do not know from where they need to collect their vouchers. This can be accessed through the Mimcol website, vouchersmimcol.com, where one needs to enter his ID card number and his document number on the back of the ID card. Once these details and inputted, the website will notify the person from where the vouchers can be collected.

Some people are saying that for some reason or other they did not receive the paper from Maltapost informing them that the vouchers could not be delivered as no one was home to receive them. The tracking number of this Maltapost paper can be obtained from this website, the Minister said.

In this case, the person would need to print it or take a screenshot of it, and then the person should take it with him along with his ID card number to the Maltapost branch as indicated on the website, and the person would be able to collect the vouchers.

For foreign residents with a different ID card, the minister said that there were cases where residency permits were not valid in April as they would have expired, so they didn’t know they were still living in Malta.

“In these circumstances, if a resident would have applied for a renewal of their residency permit before 31 April, but they wouldn’t have received the permit yet, an update from ID Malta was asked for and we are seeing that these will also be given the voucher,” the minister said.

If any queries remain, people can phone 80074904 or send an email on [email protected]. These proved to be popular, as 33,311 calls were dealt with and 11,600 emails were received, the Minister noted.

Finally, Schembri said that when a person uses the digital voucher, the outlet which is going to accept the digital voucher “needs to finish the whole process” when it comes to accepting it. When scanning, the outlets need to be careful that the screen notifies that the transaction has been completed. “If the transaction would still be incomplete, the transfer of the voucher would not happen,” he said.

In terms of accountability, the government is suggesting that apart from the VAT receipts – a copy of which needs to be kept – a copy of the physical vouchers can be kept or taking note of the serial number of the digital vouchers.

“This is because Mimcol, from time to time, will be auditing a sample of outlets as was already done in the first round of vouchers because they would need to report the transactions and how the measure worked,” he said.

The Minister also remarked that if any of the outlets have any queries, they should either phone 80074950 or send an email on [email protected]

 

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