[WATCH] Coronavirus: Reinvest surplus in businesses, workers, Delia urges government

Adrian Delia urges government to, by the middle of next week, provide an aid package which safeguards businesses and jobs

Opposition leader Adrian Delia addressed a press conference on Sunday
Opposition leader Adrian Delia addressed a press conference on Sunday

Adrian Delia has reiterated his urgent call for the government to make the needed decisions to ensure businesses stay afloat and jobs are not lost amidst the coronavirus crisis.

The Nationalist Party leader insisted on Sunday that by the middle of next week Parliament had to decide on the aid package to offer to Malta’s businesses to help them through the current situation brought on by Covid-19’s economic impact.

“This is not the time for the government to not spend the country’s savings. The [surplus] resources are the people’s - they belong to workers and businesses - we ask government to reinvest in its own people, in businesses, in workers, in families. for the good of the nation,” Delia said.

“If this doesn’t happen now, it will be too late,” he said.

The PN leader highlighted that other European countries - which had not been boasting of a surplus - had offered assistance in the form of covering 75%, 80% and more of workers’ salaries.

“Countries around the world are abandoning conventional models… the help must be given now,” Delia said, “…We need to use all our resources now, not later than mid-next week […] Parliament must not lose another day in order to give the needed help.”

“We have a hard and long road ahead and we don’t know how hard or how long it will be. But we know we have to go through it together, because this is the only way we can emerge victorious,” he said, as he likened the current situation to that faced by older generations during World War II.

‘Are Steward helping us?’

Delia asked whether Steward Healthcare - the US company running the 30-year concession to operate St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo General hospitals - were helping in the current situation.

“Are they helping us? Have they brought in equipment? Have they spoken to their Boston headquarters in order to source equipment? Are the using the €70 a year paid to them by the government for something? Can they help us get medicine, equipment, other needed stock?” he asked.

He added that if Steward were being of no help, then the government should stop paying them. “We should use the money for medicines, ventilators... and the necessary equipment [to fight Covid-10],” he said.