[WATCH] Prime Minister unveils €50m COVID voucher scheme injection

Every person aged 16 and over will get €100 vouchers to spend between 7 June and 15 September • Vouchers can be downloaded electronically

Prime Minister Robert Abela and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri unveil €50 million voucher scheme for summer economic boost
Prime Minister Robert Abela and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri unveil €50 million voucher scheme for summer economic boost

A stimulus package worth €50 million in vouchers is expected to have a multiplier effect on the economy during the summer months, Robert Abela said.

The Prime Minister unveiled the voucher scheme on Thursday. Every person aged 16 and over will receive €100 in vouchers to be spent at restaurants, bars, retail outlets and services that were shut during the pandemic.

There are some 25,000 businesses eligible to benefit from these consumer vouchers.

The vouchers can be used between 7 June and 15 September with government expecting this to boost business activity as Malta gradually lifts COVID-19 restrictions.

Abela said that the first voucher scheme last year saw the €45 million injection lead to an overall expenditure of €90 million, providing a stimulus to the economy.

He said government wanted this to be a "summer of work" but cautioned that restrictions that remain in place must be adhered to. He insisted that restrictions will continue being lifted gradually according to what the health authorities dictate.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said people will be able to receive their vouchers in printed format or digital format, depending on the person’s preference.

He said anybody wanting to download the vouchers electronically on their smartphone between today and 4 June by going to wallet.vouchersmimcol.com.

Anybody who does not download the vouchers will automatically receive them by registered post in the weeks after 4 June.

Schembri said that the electronic download system was more convenient because vouchers would be received immediately and ready for use from 7 June. He said that vouchers will always be available on the individual’s phone and could be transferred to another person or used for online payments for takeaway services.

Key points:

  • Every person aged 16 and over will receive €100 vouchers
  • Red vouchers worth €60 can be spent on restaurants, bars, hotels and diving schools
  • Blue vouchers worth €40 can be spent on beauty services, retail outlets selling shoes, clothes and other items, gyms, museums, band clubs, art and culture activities
  • Vouchers can be used between 7 June and 15 September
  • Vouchers can be downloaded electronically between 20 May and 4 June on smartphone from wallet.vouchersmimcol.com
  • Those who opt not to download vouchers will receive them by registered post after 4 June
  • Total cost of vouchers €50 million

Stakeholders react to second round of vouchers

In its reaction to the voucher scheme, the Gozo Tourism Association welcomed the second round of vouchers, adding that the scheme will provide further assistance to all businesses in general and to the tourism sector in particular.

"The vouchers, together with the opening to foreign arrivals as from 1 June 2021, with the encouraging control of the COVID-19 spread, and a robust vaccination programme augurs good prospects for the upcoming summer season," the association said.

It added that the Gotizan economy was badly effected over the past months due to its dependence on tourism.

"The Gozo Tourism Association believes that within this scenario, the tourism industry on the Maltese Islands can soundly start its recovery."

On its part, the Malta Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement on the second round of €100 stimulus vouchers, saying that it will inject a much-needed impetus into the economy.

"The vouchers come at a very critical time for businesses, especially for those working in the tourism industry," it stated. "The Malta Chamber has taken an active role in helping put industry on a recovery path and shape a more competitive post-Covid Malta and has repeatedly insisted that vaccination is key in being travel-ready." 

However, the Chamber still stressed on the importance of a well-thought out EU National Plan for Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRP). 

"The Malta Chamber urges Government to communicate and consult with social partners on the RRP and its specific details.  The Malta Chamber is disappointed that the information received so far on the RRP has been very sparse and disjointed.  It is also disappointing to note that Malta remains one of the very few EU Member States which has not yet submitted its RRP plan to the European Commission."

It added that the business community needs to be informed without further delay on the actions and investments which will be covered through these funds.