Chamber of SMEs: Malta to brace itself for mass layoffs, business closures and unemployment

The Chamber of SMEs says the government's care package 'means nothing and will not change anything' and appealed for it to dig deep in its pockets after an economic growth 'it boasted about' throughout the past years

File photo
File photo

The Chamber of SMEs, formerly GRTU, said that despite the government’s care package, Malta will have to brace itself for mass layoffs, business closures and unemployment.

“Government once again shows clear signs that it is not understanding the dire situation businesses are in. The flashy figures announced yesterday evening, accompanied by the usual rhetoric, mean nothing and will not change anything in the difficult decisions employers are unwillingly taking and the sacrifices they and their employees are having to make,” the Chamber said in a statement.

It added that the government doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, only to look at other countries where keeping business in business and workers in jobs was prioritised.

“In Malta, the government seems to have thrown in the towel and is shortsightedly catering more for unemployment rather than helping businesses in keeping their employees. The harm of having so many thousands of people in unemployment will cost so much more in social and economic damage in the long-term as more social benefits will need to be paid in the long-run than the subsidies which are necessary but not being offered now.

“Where layoffs can be avoided they must be avoided,” it said.

The Chamber said that the government needs a reality check and to stop “playing about” with low-impact measures.

“This is not the time for a mini-budget. Other countries have described their funding measures as a war budget and Malta is no different. Government should be digging deep in its pockets until it finds the necessary funds.

“The government has shown ample capability along the years to come up with millions and billions to finance different operations and projects that it thought fit. Not having the sufficient financial liquidity is not a credible answer. Now is the time to finance SMEs and their employees who have diligently paid their taxes, sustained the economy and contributed to the economic growth so boasted about by the government throughout the past years.”