In addition to the measures announced earlier on this week (read more HERE), yesterday the Government announced a number of additional measures aimed at supporting the local business community in the face of the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on  business.

The financial package has a value of circa €1.8bn, equivalent to circa 12.9% of Malta’s GDP in 2019. Briefly the measures include the following:

General economic measures

  • Liquidity injection and bank guarantees of up to €1.6bn consisting of:
    • Deferral of tax payments as announced earlier, i.e. covering VAT, provisional tax, maternity fund and social security contributions
    • €150m worth of bank guarantees
    • €750m worth of soft loans
  • Provision of Government guarantees of up to €900m thereby making credit of €4.5bn available.
  • Option to request a 3-month moratorium on business and personal loans.
  • €210m of funds to be made available to cover COVID-19 related expenditure.
  • An additional €35m injection into the Health budget to fund health related equipment and supplies required to fight the virus, with said budget to be augmented further if necessary.

Measures linked to employment

  • A capped €350 grant per employee to businesses that have had employees on mandatory quarantine.
  • Government will cover 2 days’ salary per week (based on a monthly salary of €800) of employees of businesses that have suffered from a complete suspension of operations (e.g. hospitality, language schools, entertainment venues).
  • Self-employed individuals operating in these said industries will also receive a grant equivalent to 2 days’ salary per week (based on an assumed monthly income of €800). Self-employed individuals who are also employers shall, however, receive a grant equal to 3 days’ salary per week (based on an assumed monthly salary of €800).
  • Employees of businesses whose operations have suffered a minimum 25% decline are to benefit from a grant equal to 1 day’s salary per week (based on a monthly salary of €800).
  • Individuals whose full-time employment is terminated with effect from 9 March 2020 shall benefit from a temporary increase in unemployment benefits of up to €800 monthly.
  • Measures relating to employment of third-country nationals:
    • Businesses terminating active employment contracts of said nationals shall not be permitted the possibility of recruiting additional third-country nationals;
    • Going forward only applications for highly skilled third-country workers shall be considered;
    • In the event of job termination of third-country nationals residing in Malta, assistance shall be provided to find alternative employment.

Other social measures

  • €800 Government benefit per month (for up to 2 months) for families with school-aged children where both parents work in the private sector and are unable to work remotely and who require additional leave to take care of the children.
  • Persons with disabilities, being particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and having had to stop working following the outbreak, shall be given a €800 monthly benefit for a period of time should they be unable to work remotely.
  • Increased in rent subsidies by Government where a family member living in subsidised accommodation has his/her employment terminated.

How can we help?

We understand that applications for the various grants/benefits may be submitted with effect from next Monday 23 March 2020.  Details of these measures are expected to become available shortly and we are meanwhile monitoring developments in this regard.  We will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Meanwhile, should you require any assistance relative to how your business may benefit from this financial package, please do not hesitate to reach out to us personally.

For more information, please contact Dr. Rosanne Bonnici, Tax Partner, on rosanne.bonnici@fenlex.com.

©Fenech & Fenech Advocates 2020

Disclaimer │ The information provided on this Update does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only.  This Update may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and you are advised to seek updated advice.