MediaToday Sunday papers call on Abela to safeguard businesses, jobs

MaltaToday and Illum urge Prime Minister Robert Abela to take the measures necessary to save businesses and protect jobs in light of Covid-19’s economic impact

MediaToday’s Sunday newspapers have warned Robert Abela that the Covid-19 financial aid package won’t cut it, as they urged the Prime Minister to do what it takes to save businesses and prevent workers from losing their jobs.

In strong a front-page editorial and analysis respectively, sister newspapers MaltaToday and Illum are calling on Abela to take stock of the situation and take action by implementing the needed national stimulus package to ensure businesses stay afloat in these unprecedented and trying times by keeping workers in their jobs.

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“Robert Abela’s package does not go far enough and will not work,” MaltaToday said.

The newspaper said Abela must be unafraid of spending and racking up the necessary government debt for a national stimulus, or the risks of not doing so would be great and the economic hardship of the coronavirus pandemic could turn into the next Great Depression.

“What Malta needs is a form of universal credit for all, to keep aggregate demand up and so that idle workers at home can return straight to work at the end of the crisis and restore the supply chain,” MaltaToday’s editorial emphasised.

Illum carried interviews with the General Workers Union, Chamber of SMEs, Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin, Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association and Federated Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (FATTA), with the unions stressing that businesses will close and jobs will be lost if the government does not announce new measures. Things will take an especially negative turn in the tourism, restaurant and entertainment sectors, the unions said.

The government’s €1.8 billion financial aid package, announced on Wednesday, was widely criticised by the social partners, Opposition and employers for lacking the muscle needed to keep Maltese businesses afloat during this crisis and to prevent people’s jobs and livelihoods from being lost.

On Sunday, Abela indicated that the government was working on another package of measures, which he said could be announced shortly, as he emphasised that the government aimed to keep businesses going and to prevent jobs from being lost.