Budget 2021 still being evaluated, focused on aiding high-return economic sectors – Edward Scicluna

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The upcoming budget for 2021 is still in its evaluation process, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told this newsroom, adding that the government has to be mindful with the country’s resources and is focused on aiding those who will give the best return to Malta’s economy.

On Wednesday 9 September, Scicluna launched the Pre-budget Document for 2021 outlining how the deficit Malta experienced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic will carry on into the next year.

This newsroom asked if he anticipates that certain sectors will suffer during this year’s budget since the government has been and will keep on investing a lot of money in health sector due to the COVID-19 situation.

Scicluna could not specify if or which sectors will suffer, saying that the nature of this crisis is different to other crises.

“It is not a financial crisis or a recession or even a depression. This is a temporary thing, even if it lasts for two more years, since the point is that there is a beginning and an end to the crisis at hand.”

He said that everyone is hoping that as the vaccine comes out and people start to recover, things will go back to normal again, meaning, one will continue where they left off prior to the pandemic.

“Businesses will not have to start from scratch as they simply stopped, hibernated and will now rise back up and continue as per usual. The government’s role is to help them in this gap in between,” he explained.

“Obviously, it is not easy to know who to help exactly and how much help they need; it all depends on the country’s resources. This is the way we will be making decisions on the budget.”

Asked if there will be certain measures that will be introduced in the budget or extended, like the wage supplement, in order to help businesses, Scicluna said that currently the government is undergoing this evaluation process.

“We are currently focused on seeing how many targets we can reach effectively with the resources we have available. We have to be wary of not splurging on things that will not give us any return. We have to look at those businesses that will give us the most return into our economy so that we can come out of this crisis as strongly as we started out.”

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