A recovery budget to be presented on June 8 is aimed to offer incentives to businesses in a bid to regenerate the economy after the Coronavirus pandemic, Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna said on Tuesday.
Scicluna, who was speaking during a virtual meeting with social partners and members of the MCESD, said the aid package is still a work in progress. “Work is still being done and we are here to discuss suggestions with one another; this is a very important meeting so that we can take learn from our mistakes and look into the statistics.”
Monday’s budget is not to replace the usual budget which takes place in October, but due to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the government is working hard to continue safeguarding workers and their jobs.
Minister Carmelo Abela explained that whilst the country has made sacrifices to ensure the safety of the public, the next step now is to come up with initiatives to help the economy. “What the new normality will be, we do not know, but the scope of this meeting is to discuss and come up with incentives for the economy.”
€122 million spent more in April than was budgeted
During the meeting, Scicluna provided recent statistics from the first Quarter of the year, where he said that Malta spent €122 million more than estimated in the last budget. “The current expenditure was €537 million, while the budget estimate was €415 million; excluding the money spent of coronavirus measures, €93 million in April, spending falls to €444 million; this is a difference of €29 million from the estimated €415 million.”
He said that although Malta, like the rest of the globe suffered consequences as a result of restricted measures taken, certain sectors in the Maltese economy are so ‘diverse’ that they continued to work and produce business. He pointed out that Malta is in seventh place amongst the top performers in the EU this year.
He also highlighted that unemployment was kept below 4,000.
When it comes to gross value added by sector in the first quarter of 2020, 14.1% is due to construction. “Whilst there were talks than real estate was slowing down, 9.2% of gross value is from real estate activities,” Scicluna said.
He stressed that everyone must take responsibility to help businesses to get back on their feet. “We understand that this new normal will be different, that we might even see an increase in prices in certain businesses, for example some restaurants might up their prices since they are not catering for the normal seating they used to have.”