Voucher and wage supplement extension among PN proposals for tourism

The Nationalist Party wants the voucher scheme and wage supplement for tourism to be extended beyond September as industry faces COVID-19 uncertainty

PN tourism spokesperson Robert Arrigo
PN tourism spokesperson Robert Arrigo

Extending the voucher scheme and wage supplement for the tourism sector should be considered as travel restrictions continue to hamper the industry’s recovery, the Nationalist Party said.

Opposition tourism spokesperson Robert Arrigo said other proposals include a deduction of VAT and interest rates and an extension on loan moratoria.

“The Nationalist Party would again like to put forward proposals for this important sector. Over the past two weeks, half of all European countries closed their borders to Malta. This brought about serious reflection for all those who work in this sector, especially in light of the coming winter,” Arrigo said.

The party highlighted that the existing rent subsidy scheme was ineffective in helping small and medium enterprises.

As part of Malta’s Economic Recovery Plan, businesses classified as Annex A and Annex B by Malta Enterprise were eligible for a one-time grant of up to €2,500 to help cover rent. However, the Nationalist Party cited a study by the Chamber of SMEs showing that 62% of small or medium enterprises pay between €2,000 and €5,000 per month, rendering the rent subsidy useless.

An extension on loan moratoria until next March is also being proposed to provide businesses with a liquidity boost.

The Central Bank of Malta had instructed credit and financial institutions to grant a moratorium period of six months on capital and interest to borrowers that have been “materially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak,” with applications to be submitted by the 30 September.

Borrowers that were granted a moratorium between 1 March and 30 June of this year are able to extend their six-month moratorium period by a further six months.

Arrigo said the voucher scheme should be extended beyond the initial 30 September deadline.

Arrigo noted that the scheme was initially proposed by the PN at the beginning of the outbreak, and was later taken on by the government.