The new pay supplement scheme promotes greater fairness, business sector representatives told The independent of Malta, noting that the future of companies depends on the deployment of the vaccine, investments in companies and the restructuring of the Maltese economy.
On Tuesday, the new wage supplement scheme was announced. It removed the old annex system and introduced a tiered system for the supplement based on companies’ VAT returns by comparing 2019 and 2020 results.
The decision received positive feedback from representatives of the business sector, namely the President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) Tony Zahra, the CEO of the Malta Chamber of SMEs Abigail Mamo and the President of the Chamber of Commerce David Xuereb.
All representatives agree that the new program promotes more equity in all areas as it is based on a more holistic system in which those who need help the most will be better recognized, while companies that have done better during the pandemic will not receive the supplement.
“Ultimately, help should go to those who need it most,” Zahra told this newsroom, noting that all Association members had already been consulted on this new system and had reacted positively.
Mamo shared this sentiment, saying that in principle the new program is a positive change as it shows that Malta has learned lessons and improved from previous experiences.
âHowever, the devil is in the details which can only be seen in practice and our members are uncertain as to how this will be implemented and how it will impact them. But there were no bad reactions.
For his part, Xuereb explained that the Chamber of Commerce had already raised the argument on assist businesses based on the impact of the pandemic on that particular business.
âFrom now on, it is no longer a question of having long debates on which sectors belong to which annex; it is a real performance measure that we are satisfied with.
The three representatives also mentioned their satisfaction with the government recognizing and providing wage subsidies to employees hired to replace employees who left during the pandemic. This was not the case in the previous system, as employers did not receive any subsidy for the replacements they hire to take over the jobs of former employees.
Future actions and support
The independent of Malta also asked each representative if they saw the need for future measures that would help businesses even more as Malta recovers in the months to come.
MHRA President Zahra said the situation is what it is and everything now depends on the rollout of the vaccine.
“What we need is for the vaccine to work and the sooner it does, the faster we will get out of this problem. It’s good to encourage people to use the services of our members and the good ones are one. more, but our survival depends on the vaccine because it will bring more tourists back to Malta. “
He also believes that there should be more emphasis on Destination Malta, as Andre Bocelli’s musical performance already does. “This will benefit the country as a whole as Malta needs the approval of these world famous people, promoting our country as a great place to visit, whether for business or pleasure.”
Vice-President Mamo spoke of the need for the salary supplement to be extended beyond March, as businesses need a longer period to overcome insecurities created by the pandemic.
“The government has told us that given the scenario we are working in, it cannot commit to anything beyond March, but we are already discussing what will happen beyond March, as some sectors like the tourism should plan in advance. “
She also noted that there is a need for more aggressive programs that encourage companies to restructure. “Businesses have a lot of debt piling up, and at the same time we’re telling them to reinvest and reinvent themselves, but they’ll need a lot more support to do that.”
In addition, she encouraged the government to inform companies of its plans to restructure the economy so that it is no longer so dependent on tourism.
Chamber of Commerce President Xuereb also underlined the importance of restructuring the Maltese economy by stating that while the government has done well to focus on preserving jobs, the point of attention must now change to help businesses grow.
“WWe can no longer speak of preservation. We are now at a stage where action needs to be taken and where we need to explore new economic sectors driven by digitization, talent, quality of life and climate change. This is where we need to be.
He explained that what gives Malta its competitive advantage in this regard is its size; âWe are agile, we can be effective and therefore able to implement change better than other countries. Hope we will not lose this opportunity. “