For a resurgent economy

There are still some restrictions to be removed but with the resumption of flights to the UK, we can say that we are well on our way to get the economy back on its feet.

We all have heard the sums that the government has ploughed back, even borrowing to do so, so as to get the economy moving again.

The constituted bodies, who were very vocal to push the government to come up with package after package, now seem to have fallen silent. So the country is left groping around for answers: are these packages enough? Have they worked?

We can compare and contrast the help that has been given to that given by other countries.

But the Maltese economy is of a specific type – it has a very high percentage of service enterprises, mainly linked to tourism. This makes it far more exposed than an economy, for instance, based on exports or on the internal market.

This also means that it is of paramount importance that Malta remains a safe country, that it keeps the amount of Covid infections as low as possible and its health system free of getting overwhelmed. It is also paramount that Malta and its tourism sector get recognised internationally as being safe to come here.

Already one can see other countries which opened up too rapidly or without the proper health infrastructure and which have been forced to lockdown back while other countries from where tourists were expected had to order their citizens to avoid going to that country.

We repeat, other countries could fall back on the internal market or exports. In our case, these two sectors are too small to sustain the rest of the economy.

All over Europe, talk is about contraction – a 7.8% contraction in German gross domestic product, an 8% decline in the US, 10.2% in the UK, 12.5% in France and 12.8% in Spain and Italy.

Each country, at first on its own, given the urgency, and soon collectively as a union, have dug deeper and deeper into their pockets to come up with funds to stave off the worst impacts of the Covid recession. The European Council, which meets face to face in the coming days, is expected to come up with more funds for the reconstruction.

There may however be a side effect, as our main story says – the Council may decide to take steps to curb tax avoidance by some states, with Malta mentioned in this regard.

Like the ‘boy cries wolf’ story, we have been hearing this for ages that we have stopped believing it. The depth of the Covid crisis might make the previous impossible a sad reality.

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