The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

Extension of wage supplement being evaluated, particularly for tourism sector - Schembri

Semira Abbas Shalan Wednesday, 12 January 2022, 09:57 Last update: about 7 months ago

The Covid-19 wage supplement, which has served as a road to recovery for businesses in various sectors following the blow of the pandemic, is being revised to determine which sectors can benefit from it beyond the month of January.

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Sunday that the wage supplement will be extended beyond January, but only for some sectors, he said.

Asked about which sectors will be eligible for the wage supplement after the end of January, Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri told The Malta Independent that the government is looking at the present situation to see which sectors have been most affected by the pandemic.

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“We are continuing to look at, in detail, certain sectors, primarily the tourism sector, so that we can further assist in the fight against the pandemic,” Schembri said, adding that in the coming days, more details will be announced in this regard.

Abela said on Sunday that this year’s goal is to sustain Malta’s recovery from the virus, adding that the tourism sector has been greatly impacted due to disruptions on travel after a resurgence of the pandemic. He added that it does not make sense to withdraw aid at a crucial moment and so the wage supplement is to be extended beyond the end of this month.

The Prime Minister has consistently said that the country is doing well economically and is prepared should the need for more financial assistance for businesses be required. However, he also said that the government does not want to encourage dependence on the wage supplement.

The PN has been insisting that the wage supplement is extended until at least the end of March, to allow businesses time to recuperate whilst facing uncertainty due to the virus.

Recently, a government strategy between 2021 and 2030 regarding the tourism industry was announced, with the aim of recovering from the pandemic. However, with the current rise in cases and yet another new wave of the pandemic, especially with the Omicron variant present in the country, the tourism industry is once again facing an oncoming negative impact.

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