Wage Supplement helped 17,000 businesses protect 105,000 jobs – Malta Enterprise chief

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 December, 2021 at 9:00 am by Andre Camilleri

The Covid-19 wage supplement has helped around 17,000 businesses protect more than 105,000 jobs, Malta Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Kurt Farrugia said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Farrugia said Malta Enterprise has invested some €680 million in the wage supplement and other aid schemes.

He said that the Malta Enterprise would be in continuous discussion with stakeholders and businesses to closely discuss their concerns and follow the developing Covid-19 situation.

Briefing the press on what the government did to help businesses during these challenging times, he mentioned that the government helped 4,000 employers equip their employees with technological gadgets to be able to telework.

Farrugia also said that there were some 5,000 applications for the rent subsidy scheme for business, which saw some €13 million given in assistance.

There were also 5,000 applications coming from businesses for assistance on their energy bills. During 2020 and 2021, this form of assistance amounted to €7 million.

Mentioning the aid granted by the government in terms of quarantine leave, Farrugia said that this month alone, there were 16,000 applications which totalled up to around €9 million. This application is still open.

Farrugia said that these measures helped ease the pressure of businesses during previous months. He added that the Malta Enterprise is always trying to develop new ideas to help change and grow several businesses with schemes such as the “Smart and sustainable” and “Change to grow”.

Minister for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli said that the government had provided diverse solutions to help ease the pressure of businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said that during 2021, the wage supplement targeted businesses that suffered the most financially during these challenging times.

Mentioning the extension of the wage supplement until January,  she said that there would be several discussions that will take place with business and stakeholders to update on the situation and act accordingly.

Further explaining this extension, she said that those sectors that are still given €800 per employee will continue receiving this amount.

Dalli said that the ” Sustainable Investment Scheme” helps businesses cover the costs for several sustainable development costs, such as hiring consultants. She added that this scheme aims to assist the business economy of today and tomorrow, where with an allocated investment of € 5 million, a business can benefit from a total of up to €70,000.

Dalli also said that she is in contact with the health ministry and authorities over calls, by the business community, for a reduction of Covid-19 quarantine periods.

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