Malta’s coronavirus aid package is most generous in the world, study finds

Malta’s spending to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy equates to 22.1% of GDP, the highest in the world, according to a Columbia University study

Lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted global economies but Malta's spending response to cushion the blow has ranked top in the world
Lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted global economies but Malta's spending response to cushion the blow has ranked top in the world

Malta’s fiscal response to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus is the most generous globally, an analysis carried out by a Columbia economics professor shows.

With Malta’s spending equating to 22.1% of its GDP, the country tops the list, just ahead of Japan, in a ranking compiled by Ceyhun Elgin from Columbia University.

Government unveiled various support measures to cushion the impact of COVID-19, most notably by paying a wage supplement of €800 per month per employee for companies that had to close as part of restrictions introduced by health authorities.

Other schemes include the payment of €800 to a working parent who had to stay at home to care for children after schools were closed.

The exercise undertaken by Elgin tracks the responses to COVID-19 in 166 countries.

If non-spending responses, such as government guarantees to enable bank borrowing by businesses to continue, are taken into account, the country rank order changes.

France gets to the top of the list and Malta gets pushed down to eighth place in the global rankings.

The coronavirus has disrupted global economies as health authorities introduced restrictive measures to limit the spread of the virus.

Malta went into partial lockdown in March by closing schools, shutting off air and sea travel, closing non-essential shops and limiting public gatherings.

The restriction on non-essential shops was lifted on Monday after the COVID-19 infection rate remained under control.

Top five countries globally

Spending response as % of GDP

  1. Malta.           22.1%
  2. Japan           21.1%
  3. Belgium        18.6%
  4. Luxembourg 18.6%
  5. USA              14%

Source: Ceyhun Elgin, Columbia University

More in National