The Government has forked out in excess of €680 million in COVID-19 economic assistance since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The total includes €653 million in COVID Wage Supplement which is extended till January and possibly beyond.
A round-up of all the COVID-19 assistance was published by Malta Enterprise, which administered the economic packages announced by the Government over the past 22 months.
The COVID Wage Supplement assisted 17,500 businesses and over 105,000 employees. This measure is believed to have greatly contributed to Malta achieving the lowest unemployment rate levels ever, as the economy started to recover in 2021, registering record growth figures again by the third and fourth quarter of 2021.
The COVID Wage Supplement assisted 17,500 businesses and over 105,000 employees.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that the wage supplement will now be extended at least throughout January, with a clear commitment to keep following the situation, and if need be extend it further.
The wage supplement is a grant of up to €800 per employee, per month, as assistance on the wage bill of businesses. The supplement was tapered down in June 2021 to keep assisting those companies that were hit the hardest by the pandemic, mainly in the tourism and hospitality industries.
Other assistance to businesses
The Government’s COVID-19 relief package was not limited to the Wage Supplement.
Government has also assisted companies on their rent and electricity bills to the tune of €19 million.
The electricity grant which was spread over a period of three months in 2020 and another three months in 2021, and covered 50% of the electricity bill, cost €6 million.
The rent scheme which also covered up to half the cost of the rental contract of business up to a maximum of €7,500 for those companies that have up to 5 outlets has cost the country’s coffers a further €13 million.
Another important scheme, which is still ongoing, is the assistance to businesses on employees who are constrained to quarantine due to either contracting COVID or being in contact with positive cases. This has so far cost over €9.1 million and with the number of cases still rising, it is expected that the cost of the assistance on quarantine leave will keep rising.
A one-time grant was also given to companies that had remained closed following the first round of opening of businesses back in March 2021 which cost another half a million euro.
In total the assistance has exceeded €680 million, which is the largest ever assistance package granted by any government over time.
This is excluding the Government vouchers which were distributed to each person in Malta to be used in retail and hospitality.