A key plank of the 2021 Malta Budget announced by the Finance Minister on 19th October consisted of measures to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and to outline the steps being taken to regenerate the economy. Importantly, Government is committed to push forward this regeneration through financial stimuli. The key relevant measures were:
Wage Supplement Retention
Social partners were adamant that that the Wage Supplement Measure, which supports the most hit economic sectors, up to €800 monthly for full-timers, is extended beyond October. The Minister announced its extension till March 2021 whilst mentioning that steps will be taken to reconfigure the wage supplement to take account of business turnover. The Wage Supplement Measure was crucial for the sustenance of some key economic sectors on the island.
New Set of Vouchers
Business operators in the tourism, accommodation, catering, and retail sectors were elated to hear that the successful scheme of €100 vouchers given to all residents over the age of sixteen, will be renewed. This time out of the €100 worth of vouchers, €40 will be directed towards the retail sector as against €20 in the first set. A major stimulus to the tourism, accommodation and retail sectors.
The funding of big infrastructural projects is key to stimulate the construction industry and ensure a healthy ripple effect on employment levels and on the health of other related sectors. Such infrastructural projects are indispensable for the economic regeneration of the country. The key relevant measures announced by the Minister consisted of:
- €450m investment over 7 years in industrial infrastructure and office space, in a new Life Sciences Park, the Kordin Business Centre, office space for SMEs and a logistical hub in Marsa
- An investment of €11m in sports facilities over a three-year period
- Various infrastructural interventions related to aviation maintenance and maritime sectors, modernisation of health centres, new blood bank, new sports complex at the University of Malta and new parking facilities at Mater Dei Hospital.