The Minister for Finance and Financial Services, Professor Edward Scicluna, together with the Minister at the OPM, Dr Carmelo Abela, met social partners MCESD in preparation for the recovery budget that will be announced next Monday, 8th June.
Minister Abela urged representatives of employers and employees to continue working together to meet the conditions of the new normality. He said that through this budget the Government will continue to stimulate the country’s economy. This budget will underline the current economic situation and will complement the Government’s ‘war chest’ that was made available throughout the pandemic.
Minister Scicluna explained that despite the pandemic, Malta registered an increase in gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the First Quarter of this year, when compared to the same quarter last year. As a result Malta was classified among those EU Member Countries least affected by the worldwide pandemic. The positive result reflected the wide diversification of the country’s economy where the positive performance of spheres such as construction, manufacture, financial, informatics and professionals compensated for the setbacks experienced in transport and accommodation. All this is thanks to those in the health sector and carrying public responsibility in general, who worked to prevent the imposition of a total lockdown.
During the meeting Minister Scicluna gave a rundown account of the Maltese economy and indications and statistics that show that during the first three months of this year the country’s economy maintained it growth and registered a 0.5% increase.
Professor Scicluna said that Monday’s budget will offer a number of incentives to employers and the public to enable the country to regain its economic confidence and keep the economy cycle going. He said that during the past weeks the Government launched packages and continued to consider other proposals by the social partners to enable the economic recovery. He said this is not a time for austerity but a time for economic stimulation.
He further explained the Government approved four aid packages that were drawn up by the EU as solidarity with Member States. However, on the last €750 billion aid package, Malta has agreed in principles but has expressed reservations on the EU Commission’s proposals and will express these at the Council of Europe because some of the proposal will directly affect Malta negatively.
Minister Scicluna said that unlike other Member States, under the proposals Malta will be offered more loans than grants. He said that proposed taxes on air travel and bunkering will affect Malta negatively.