Maltese Minister for the Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli said Thursday that the government wage supplement scheme has been extended to the month of May, as well as revealed that the total government investment for the scheme was that of over €720 million.
The wage supplement scheme was launched to help recover from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of aiding the recovery of the country’s economy. The scheme started in March 2020.
Dalli said that through the scheme, the government has saved 120,000 jobs which would have otherwise been lost had the country failed to take action during the peaks of the pandemic.
“The crisis could have broken down structures and operations which would have been difficult for Malta to recover from,” Dalli said.
She said that had the government not given out the scheme, there would have been a decrease in the citizens quality of life. Dalli added that through the government schemes, Malta has the lowest rate of unemployment in Europe.
She said that the wage supplement was an unprecedented financial commitment taken by the government to save the economy.
Dalli also said that the government will continue to address issues such as energy prices increasing due to the Ukrainian conflict with the aim to keep prices in the country as stable as possible.
Malta Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Kurt Farrugia said that the wage supplement scheme served as the biggest assistance scheme of the past 26 months.
Farrugia said that 17,000 applications had to be processed in the first month of the wage supplement scheme, and 120,000 employees received a form of wage supplement.
71% of employees who received the wage supplement were those employed by a company, whilst 25% were self-employed, Farrugia said. 4% classified as “others, including unregistered or registered partnerships, voluntary organisations and cooperatives.”
Farrugia said that at a peak time, €7 million was being given weekly. The total amount of money given as wage supplement amounted to €723,477.
75% of the disbursement was given to companies, amounting to €531 million. 20% was given to self-employed, reaching up to €143 million, and 5% (€31 million) was given to others, including unregistered or registered partnerships, voluntary organisations, and cooperatives.
The main sectors that benefitted from the wage supplement scheme were accommodation and food service activities, with 30%, followed by wholesale, retail, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles with 18%, Farrugia said.
14% was given to administrative and support service activities, 12% to transportation and storage, 9% towards manufacturing, 5% towards arts, entertainment, and recreation, 4% to other service activities and 7% towards other economic sectors.
Other assistance given by the government during the pandemic included the rent refund scheme, which amounted to €13 million, the electricity refund scheme with €7 million, and the teleworking scheme with over €1 million Farrugia said.
€11 million was allocated towards quarantine leave scheme, which Farrugia announced that this will stop by Monday May 2, following the easing of most safety restrictions. Other assistance schemes totalled to €755 million, Farrugia said.
He concluded by saying that the state of the Maltese economy remains very stable.