COLA would reach €17 a week without government subsidies, Finance Minister says

Clyde Caruana warned that employers would have to pay around €17 a week if government weren't subsidising basic goods

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana

Malta's cost of living adjustment (COLA) would have to increase to around €17 by the next Budget if government wasn't subsidising fuel and other basic goods, according to Finance Minister Clyde Caruana. 

During a speech in parliament, Caruana said that calculations by his ministry showed that employers would have to pay between €16 and €18 a week to cover their COLA costs, resulting in a minimum €800 to €900 of additional costs for the year.

"We have to do whatever it takes for these burdens and challenges put to us by the war to continue being carried by government. I can't ever imagine how businesses would suddenly pay €17 or €18 in COLA without some of them going crazy from the impact."

Caruana insisted that this line of action is sustainable for the Maltese economy, arguing that it is ultimately cheaper for government to continue doing what it is doing now, as opposed to having to revive a dead economy in later months or years. 

"I will maintain with all conviction that what we're doing now has to continue happening. This isn't the time for austerity," he said. 

Air Malta

Caruana added that, for the first time in years, Air Malta reached an average passenger load factor of 90%.

Load factor refers to the percentage of seats on a plane that are booked with passengers on board. The higher the factor, the less empty seats there are on each flight, allowing airlines to maximise revenue. 

"For every 100 seats on an Air Malta plane, 94 were occupied. The number might increase for July as well," Caruana revealed. 

He added that in 2019, the company's load factor was around 70% to 74%. "With the changes we made, we increased load factor by 20 percentage points. This is what the company needs," he said.