Cabinet is expected to meet this evening to discuss financial assistance, according to several reports.
Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced a €1.8 billion financial aid package aimed at helping business through the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry expressed its strong disappointment with the lack of ambitious measures, cautioning the package as a whole will do little to stem the loss of jobs.
For the retention of jobs, the Chamber had suggested that in cases of companies suffering in excess of 25% loss in turnover, Government should pay 50 per cent of the employee’s salary up, to a maximum of the average salary, with the employer covering a further 25 per cent.
The announcement made by the Government is equivalent to a mere subsidy of 20 per cent of the employee’s salary at the level of the minimum wage, the Chamber noted.
Among the measures introduced, Government will be providing businesses with €350 payment per employee for companies to assist paying for workers in quarantine.
€700 million has been allocated to tax deferrals, €900 million to loan guarantees, while a €210 million injection to assist the economy has also been announced.
Local banks can accept all requests for a three-month moratorium for personal and business loans, through the provision of funds.
Through the national development and social fund, a total of €150 million shall be allocated as bank guarantees. The total value accessible for local business in the form of loans shall be €750 million.
Up to 44,000 workers coming from businesses which suffered a complete suspension of operations, will be eligible to receive payment for two out of every five days of work lost. This subsidy has been capped at €3 million per week in total.
Such businesses include accommodation companies, restaurants and bars.
Employees losing their job from 9th March are eligible for a special unemployment benefit, also capped at €800 per month., while people with disabilities who are unable to work from home or stop working due to health concerns, will get the same benefit.
For self-employed, who have also lost work, a benefit for two days per week will be granted, capped at €800 euro per month. Companies that stalled production by 25 per cent will be guaranteed pay for one day per week.