Our resilience as a Nation has always made us stand out both within the EU and globally. The novel COVID-19 has and continues to impact all businesses and individuals around the world, no matter the schemes that are in place. In reality, no measures may outright replace the normal day-to-day financial dealings of a business. The Government, in agreement with the stakeholders, has put in motion numerous schemes to help alleviate the pressures businesses and individuals are facing daily due to the Coronavirus. The Government’s measures focus on reducing the negative impact but also help in paving the way for businesses to hit the ground running post-COVID-19 and regain confidence and the tremendous economic growth that prospered pre-COVID and that all of Malta has grown used to.
Taking a look back at the measures put in place, on the 19th of March, as a Government, we announced a financial aid package of approximately €2 billion to help our businesses and individuals with the impact of the COVID-19. This included a mixture of €700 million in Income Tax, VAT and NI tax deferrals, €900 million in loan guarantees, the possibility of moratoriums on business and personal loans, as well as a€35 million injection to our front liners to help assist in the fight against the pandemic. Our priority as a Government is not to take a ‘survival mode’ outlook, but rather, to create an optimum balance in measures being put in place to ultimately make the most of the recovery and immediately regain momentum in the economy. Ongoing consultations with the business community as a whole keep us on the right side of things at the right time – letting us take the appropriate measures when required.
The Ministry’s introduction of a €350 million guaran-tee scheme allocated to the Malta Development Bank to develop and manage was a response to the increased capital and liquidity challenges faced by businesses. This COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme has helped all types of businesses, from small enterprises to SMEs and larger corporations. Only through constant monitoring, ongoing cooperation with stakeholders and a flexible economic plan could these measures be introduced in our community.
``As we have seen in recent years, it is not just about being equipped for the present, but it is also about being prepared and geared for the future.``
— Clayton Bartolo
Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services & the Digital Economy
With the assistance of commercial banks, the Government has also been able to introduce a subsidy on interest rates for working capital loans for up to two years for a maximum of 2.5%. Businesses could benefit by paying as little as 0.1% interest on their capital loans. This ultimately resulted in a further €40 million injection into the economy to ease this negative impact brought about by the pandemic on the business community. Striking a balance between the employer interests and employee expectations has been a key factor in the Government’s response to the COVID-19. Individuals whose job has been terminated or were unable to work remotely for some reason have been eligible to benefit from an €800 monthly payment. The Government has however coupled such incentive with other measures to help decrease the expenses incurred by businesses in implementing teleworking conditions along with other benefits that are directly being received by the employer based on the respective NACE Code.
As we have seen in recent years, it is not just about being equipped for the present, but it is also about being prepared and geared for the future. The financial measures put in place have had a positive impact on businesses in tackling this global situation. Undoubtedly, stakeholders and all individuals must continue to collaborate and pull the same rope in the same direction. As a resilient Nation, we are once again being tested, however, together we can surpass this challenge and achieve even greater results for our businesses and more importantly, our families.
Digital Transformations in the COVID-19 crisis – An Unexpected Potential for the Digital Industry
As the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting businesses and societies worldwide, it can be tempting to delay digital strategies and focus on business continuity and resiliency efforts instead. However, would this be a wise business move for when we hit the ground running?
Up until some months ago, digital transformation was not on the radar of many. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the greatest catalyst for digital transformation that the world has ever seen. We might be halfway through this global pandemic, but it is a much larger tale.
In the current climate, many businesses are prioritising business continuity as opposed to business growth.
``Investing in digital technology today will become one of your most valuable digital assets in the very near future.``
— Dana Farrugia
CEO - Tech.mt
The crisis has had a global negative effect across all sectors however, various reports indicate that females are most likely to be affected during this pandemic. This is outlined given that industries affected the most such as the service industry, personal well-being, education, travel and tourism is dominated by women. On Mother’s Day, I would like to especially reach out to all the female entrepreneurs who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this does not mean that our female entrepreneurs are necessarily in need of emergency funding, without a solid economy allowing for grants and assistance to businesses, they might end up with fewer options to sustain their business.
Intrinsically, women tend to remain calm amid the mayhem and keep adequate caution when it comes to borrowing and risk-taking. These traits are to be applauded especially on this day which is dedicated to all mothers, even those who treat their business as their own child; born, grown and sustained through hard work and dedication.
Thanks to our stable economy, the Maltese Government has been able to assist through subsidised interest rates on working capital loans for up to two years for a maximum of 2.5%. I reach out to female entrepreneurs to consider optimizing their business processes and include investment in the latest technology solutions when taking loans to further sustain their business. It is good to increase working capital to re-engineer your business during this pandemic, but also keep in clear focus to invest in assets for the future of your business. Investing in digital technology today will become one of your most valuable digital assets in the very near future.
Not only will technology give you the scalability and presence you need to help your business grow, but it will also result in a sustainable investment from which you will reap benefits in the long term.
Technology is no longer a choice, but a fundamental business strategy that must be interwoven with wider operative initiatives. Our main commitment at Tech.mt lies in pointing technology companies in the right direction. We invite you to reach out to further explore our services and how we can assist you to reach your business goals.
``Women tend to remain calm amid the mayhem and keep adequate caution when it comes to borrowing and risk-taking. These traits are to be applauded especially on this day which is dedicated to all mothers, even those who treat their business as their own child; born, grown and sustained through hard work and dedication.``
— Dana Farrugia
CEO - Tech.mt