€100 vouchers prove to be successful economic regeneration scheme

Over €33 million has been spent in government COVID vouchers

Economy minister Silvio Schembri (right) with Prime Minister Robert Abela
Economy minister Silvio Schembri (right) with Prime Minister Robert Abela

Over €33 million has been spent in government COVID vouchers, with the average spend of vouchers standing at €1.37 million on weekends, and €1.22m between Monday and Thursday.

The scheme, launched by minister for the economy Silvio Schembri and Prime Minister Robert Abela, has meant a direct economic injection of €2.6 million per week.

Data from MIMCOL shows that until the 5 September, 74% of the vouchers had been redeemed, an injection of not just money into the economy but renewed confidence among retailers, catering establishments, business owners, and consumers.

Malta is now recognised as one of the leading countries in the European Union with the best and fastest of post-COVID recoveries, with PM Abela having been categorical in his prediction for a second voucher roll-out that could repeat last year’s success with the same positive effect on the economy. Thanks to a highly efficacious vaccination roll-out that placed Malta as the first in the world with regard to vaccinations, this year augured an even better outcome for the €100 voucher scheme - a total injection of €50 million.

Fortune does indeed favour the bold, with data showing the voucher scheme ultimately reaped the desired fruits: on the domestic front, it has generated strong economic activity that has been pivotl for national regeneration.

With the public roped in to participate directly in the regeneration of the economy, the plan to protect businesses and safeguard jobs is now continuing in a stable manner with a only a month left until the end of Octoboer to redeem all the remaining vouchers. 

The Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry was amongst the first to welcome the second round of vouchers, stating that these were launched at a very critical time for businesses, especially for those operating within the tourism sector. The Chamber of SMEs also praised the renewed scheme, saying the government had taken on board its proposal for a fairer distribution of the allocation of the vouchers between sectors and that Government is extending a valuable safety net for businesses.

“The results of the tough decisions we had to make at the most challenging moments are happening,” economy minister Silvio Schembri, noting the commendation of participating businesses as consumer confidence and the increase in purchasing power could be felt in Malta and Gozo.

The data for summer in Gozo shows that until September, over €2.4 million were spent on vouchers, boosting the operations of hotels, restaurants and other shops during the pandemic.

During July and August almost a million people crossed the channel through the Gozo Channel ferry service, while from Friday 3 September to Wednesday 8 September, more than 98,000 people crossed the channel via the same service.

The efficiency in the use of the digital vouchers enabled a positive response from younger consumers who downloaded the digital version: just a small part of the nearly 120,000 consumers who downloaded their vouchers.

The positive response from industry and retail to constituted bodies shows the return of consumer confidence, and the importance of the vouchers in generating a multiplier effect - some businesses added more monetary value for purchases made with them using the full value of the vouchers. 

Certainly, this economic regeneration scheme proved to be innovative and efficient in channelling funds to help businesses hard-hit by the pandemic and to encourage people to return back to normality, encouraging the public to spend their disposable income in activities of their own choice.

The regeneration scheme has been positive especially when one considers the spin-off created through the extra spend from using the vouchers, almost on a euro-for-euro basis. Indeed, it remains a valuable tool to boost the economy and instill back spending confidence, which was needed so much in a time where tourist numbers have yet to recover.