During a press conference held yesterday, the Prime Minister Dr. Robert Abela, together with Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna and the Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Mr. Silvio Schembri announced a recovery package with the aim of restoring the economy following the effect of the pandemic. The main highlights of such recovery package are listed below.
A. Assistance to Businesses
- Wage Supplement Scheme
This scheme has been extended until end of September 2020 with some changes :
- Businesses who operate in the tourism sector will still benefit from the full grant of Eur800 per month for full time employees and Eur500 per month for part-time employees. These include travel agencies, accommodation, English learning schools, air transport and event organisers;
- Businesses that fall under Annex A ( excluding the ones mentioned above) will still benefit from this grant, but will receive Eur600 per month for full time employees and Eur375 for part time employees. In the case of Gozo businesses this will amount to Eur320 per month for full timers and Eur200 per month for part timers;
- Businesses that depend on the local market , such as personal services, will benefit from Eur160 per month for full timers and Eur100 per month for part timers;
- Pensioners and students who are in employment can now also benefit from this scheme.
2. Tax Deferral Scheme
This scheme which defers payment of NI, FSS taxes, maternity fund contributions, VAT and provisional tax was extended to cover the taxes due for the period up to the end of June 2020. Other taxes due by companies have now been deferred and can be paid up till end of May 2021.
3. Rent Refund
Enterprises that fall under Annex A and Annex B are entitled to a one-time grant , capped at Eur2,500 per business.
4. Electricity Bills
Businesses can benefit from a refund amounting to 50% of their electricity bills for the months of July, August and September 2020 , capped at Eur1,500 per business.
5. Business Re-engineering Consultancy
A maximum grant of Eur5,000 per business to be used for consultancy services in their re-engineering process to assist them in developing new plans.
6. Microinvest Cash Conversion
Those businesses who benefit from the Microinvest Scheme will be entitled to convert the tax credit into a cash grant. This is capped at Eur2,000 per business based in Malta and Eur2,500 for those businesses based in Gozo and those run by female entrepreneurs.
7. Export Credit Guarantee
This scheme is aimed at encouraging investment towards exports to new markets such as Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
8. Construction Industry- Modernisation of Equipment
This scheme will assist the businesses in the construction industry to upgrade their machinery and equipment. Each business can benefit from a grant of up to Eur200,000.
9. Skills Development Scheme
Businesses that employ less than 50 workers will benefit from training schemes.
10. Refund of Commercial Licenses
Businesses will have their licenses paid to the Malta Tourism Authority and to the Commerce Department refunded.
11. Import/Export Grants
– A refund of 33% in port charges will be given to those ships that bring cargo to our country
– A refund of 10% in container discharge fees for import and export ( but not transshipment)
– A reimbursement of 50% to costs incurred in digital marketing in campaigns aimed at foreign markets. The grant is capped at Eur10,000 for local businesses.
12. International Fares
The Government will be allocating a refund of 80% of the total costs incurred by businesses participating in international fares that have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
B. Assistance to Households
- Reduction in the price of petrol and diesel
Fuel prices will be reduced by 7 cent per litre.
2. Eur100 Voucher
Every citizen over the age of 16 will receive a Eur100 voucher which can be used in a licensed accommodation, restaurant , bars and businesses that had closed due to the pandemic. Such vouchers will expire by end of September 2020.
3. Wedding Refunds
The government will be refunding those couples who had to postpone their wedding, for deposits that have been lost. The grant is capped at Eur2,000 per couple.
C. Real Estate
- Tax on Property Transfers
Property buyers will benefit from a reduced rate of stamp duty of 1.5% (as opposed to the current 5%) whereas property sellers will benefit from a reduced tax rate of 5% (as opposed to the current 8%) provided that the contract is signed by 31st March 2021. The reduced tax rate applies on the first Eur400,000.
2. First Time Buyers Scheme
This scheme has been extended to cover also those persons who did not qualify as first time buyers due to them being part-owners in property or owners of garages.
D. Other Assistance
- Assistance to NGOs and Nursing Homes
The government will be providing assistance to NGOs and nursing homes.
2. Promotion Assistance
The government allocated Eur5 million to assist local businesses in promoting themselves and in their production of local produce.
3. In–Work Benefit
This benefit will be increased and a special supplement will be given to each family who benefits from this scheme.
4. Tax Refunds
These tax refunds have already been announced during the Government budget for 2020 and will be paid out to all workers who worked during 2018. Such refunds range from Eur40 to Eur68 depending on the beneficiary’s salary.
We anticipate that further details on the above mentioned schemes will be published shortly and will be made available on our website.