Last Updated on Friday, 23 October, 2020 at 10:13 am by Andre Camilleri
Over €230 million has been paid to workers through the government’s wage supplement so far, with another €200 million being freed up for this scheme as it is expected to run till March 2021.
In a press conference following the announcement of the budget on Monday, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri outlined that the wage supplement had helped some 85,000 workers across almost 17,000 businesses.
“This is the most extensive budget ever presented in the history of our country. During this extraordinary time, we have ensured that our businesses are sustained, reaffirmed the confidence we have in them, compelling them to take a step further and invest. In this, we shall remain standing shoulder to shoulder with them and our workers”, said Silvio Schembri.
More than €233 million has been paid for the Wage Supplement from March to September this year. Minister Schembri added that through this budget more than €200 million have been voted to safeguard jobs through the Covid Wage Supplement.
This has assisted 78,357 workers in Malta and 4,201 in Gozo, amounting to a total of 85,000 workers. In the context of the Wage Supplement, the number of businesses receiving aid was 16,894.
Regarding the Telework scheme, it was explained that by 19 October there were 662 applications and the amount paid towards this scheme was € 899,813.
Regarding the Quarantine Leave scheme, as of 19 October there were 2,664 applications. The total amount approved was that of €1,821,750, while the sum of €1,639,400 has already been paid out.
The period for businesses to apply for and benefit from the rent rebate scheme and a 50% rebate on electricity bills has recently reached its deadline.
Regarding the 50% scheme in the electricity bills and for which a budget of €35 million was allocated, the number of applications submitted to Malta Enterprise was 6,422 which amounts to a total of 7,274 bills.
Regarding the rent refund scheme for which a budget of €45 million was allocated and from which businesses could benefit from a maximum of €2,500, Malta Enterprise received 4,405 applications from businesses and the self-employed while there are 4,954 individual lease contracts.
Minister Schembri explained that there were less than 16,000 applications submitted, which is the total number of businesses that benefited from the Wage Supplement. This is due to the fact that certain businesses do not consume as much electricity. There are also activities that do not require rented space to operate, while there are also those who fall into the category of casa bottega who cannot apply because in their case the electricity meter is a domestic one and not a commercial one.
Malta Enterprise Chief Executive Kurt Farrugia explained that a scheme aimed at companies employing less than 50 people to undertake innovation projects will be launched in the near future, a scheme, that as announced in the budget will aid technological investments which improve the operation of companies and which will be covering up to 50% of the cost, all the while continuing to bolster existing schemes to further help existing sectors while attracting new ones.