The government is also not there to make up for every penny that the private sector loses in extraordinary and uncontrollable circumstances. Perhaps there was a delay in announcing this first round of economic measures – which includes tax suspensions and incentives aimed at facilitating teleworking – because the topmost priority in the first few days was to deal with this crisis from a medical angle. The first reactions by the social partners about the measures were largely positive, although they said that more needs to be done. … the Opposition should support the government and reassure businesses that they will weather this crisis like they did in the past, rather than resort to scaremongering.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 16.3.2020
Malta's measured steps to contain the virus have been well prepared, conveying the right messages to the public of a competent health service, which has the technical facilities and medical expertise to cope.
Editorjal, The Times 17.3.2020
The government’s handling of the Coronavirus situation in Malta thus far must be praised, with the health authorities quickly upping the number of available beds and a flurry of measures taken by the government to attempt to slow down the spread. Indeed its gradual approach in terms of implementing measures is the right way to go, as it gave people a chance to prepare, whereas a quick country-wide lockdown could have had some serious repercussions in the short, medium and long-term. … things have gone as smoothly as one could expect in such trying times. The government introduced mandatory quarantine for everyone coming from abroad, and while this will undoubtedly have an impact on the tourism sector, it was a needed move. While taking the gradual approach has been criticised by some, at least it gave the tourism industry a few extra days to see this coming. … The limiting of large public gatherings was also an important step taken, as this will help, hopefully, prevent a mass spread of the virus. … The most vulnerable in our society have also been thought of, and the government at first limited visiting hours for elderly homes, but then stopped all visits. … On the whole, the government’s reaction to this global problem has been a good one.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 17.3.2020
It was good to note that non-emergency services at Mater Dei Hospital have been stopped as from last Monday. This is to alleviate the pressure on the health sector. While all emergency situations will be given the attention required, what can wait will have to wait. We know that this will cause some inconvenience to the people concerned, but this is a decision that needed to be taken in the best interest of all. Hearing Robert Abela speak every day on how the government is tackling the Coronavirus spread gives a sense of reassurance.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 18.3.2020
The Malta Chamber of Commerce and Industry
chamber said it was satisfied with the outcome of the consultation process as
the prime minister’s announcement largely reflected its suggestions. It said it
would follow the situation closely and keep an open channel of communication
with the government, as the situation developed further, possibly necessitating
further adaptation. It lauded the
government’s disposition for dialogue which allowed for a successful outcome to
materialise. “The revised measures are being welcomed within the economic
context, and as matters stand today. They appropriately address the urgent
surgical needs of the hardest-hit sectors.”
The Malta Chamber of SMEs welcomed the positive response to the critical issues that had been raised and the acceptance of its proposals for a number of sectors. … The measures announced on Tuesday should give the necessary lifeline for the coming months for businesses that were desperately in need and would be celebrating the opportunity to be able to retain their workforce. The details of the implementation of such a scheme would be essential to ensure that this opportunity would be as accessible as possible.
In a joint statement, the Gozo Business Chamber and the Gozo Tourism Association welcomed the measures and noted that they took into consideration Gozo’s special circumstances. They said they would continue to work with the government and other stakeholders to continue to monitor the situation at a local and national level so that the financial incentives package would continue to address this situation, which was constantly evolving.
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association said it believed the new measures would help the tourism and hospitality sector weather the storm. MHRA President Tony Zahra said the association was satisfied that its calls for a review had been heard and that the government had been willing to go back to the drawing board to ensure the welfare of the economy. The announced measures, he said, were the result of long hours of mediation and lobbying with all stakeholders and, above all, a sense of goodwill by all parties involved.
The Association of Catering Establishments said the measures will ensure give employers and employees the necessary peace of mind. It said it had been working hard to safeguard jobs over the past weeks and had managed this due to the collaboration of its members.
The Malta Employers’ Association said that although the boost in the latest measures addressed particular sectors of the economy, this was necessary since not all sectors had been affected to the same extent, with tourism and related sectors being at a standstill.
The General Workers Union said the package should give hope and confidence in the future, which had to be built on employment. The incentives now being given should guarantee a minimum income to those working in the sectors that were most affected, including the hospitality sector, retail and aviation.
The government has ramped up its strategy to fight COVID-19 by moving from a ‘let’s wait and see’ attitude to a shock and awe attack on the social and economic threats of this pandemic. This is what is needed to mitigate the risks of an economic meltdown. Prime Minister Robert Abela defined the most recent fiscal package as “a historic pact with the social partners”. This is no exaggeration, as no previous administration since the war has had to deal with such a massive threat to the cohesion of Maltese society. … The prime minister yesterday sought to project strong leadership and a sense of national effort – that we are all in this together and that businesses and employees are called on to make sacrifices in the collective interest. It was the right message to convey.
Editorjal, The Times 26.3.2020
The third round of economic measures announced by the government on Tuesday are a step in the right direction as far as the ‘critical’ category is concerned.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 26.3.2020
Slowly but surely, the right decisions are being taken. … Once again, we appeal to the authorities, who are doing a sterling job when it comes to fighting off the Coronavirus, to communicate better with the public, and to the public to be more understanding and have some patience.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent on Sunday 29.3.2020
The government has in the main handled the coronavirus pandemic emergency with considerable assurance and sensitivity in the face of the many unknowns and a fast-changing situation. … the overall verdict must be one of high commendation.
Editorjal, The Times 30.3.2020
Delia has said several times that the Opposition is ready to work hand in hand with the government in this difficult situation. Well, (Jason) Azzopardi’s allegation was certainly not the right way by which the PN put aside partisan politics on a matter of national concern; instead, it tried to score cheap points, creating a stumbling block which ultimately backfired against the party itself.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 8.4.2020
L-MUT tilqa’ b’sodisfazzjon il-ftehim milħuq bejn il-Ministeru għall-Edukazzjoni u x-Xogħol u l-Assoċjazzjoni tal-Iskejjel Independenti (ISA) dwar l-għajnuna mill-gvern lill-iskejjel indipendenti u l-familji li wliedhom jattendu f’dawn l-iskejjel. L-MUT, li kienet qed issegwi dawn l-iżviluppi mill-qrib matul l-aħħar ġimgħat, tirrikonoxxi l-impenn tal-Gvern favur dan is-settur u l-edukaturi fl-iskejjel indipendenti filwaqt li tfaħħar l-għaqal tal-mexxejja tal-iskejjel indipendenti rappreżentati mill-ISA matul id-diskussjonijiet li kienu impenjattivi ferm.
April 18, 2020 at 11:15 am
Like others, COVID-19 caught us by surprise though it has been handled competently, sensibly and successfully.
Editorjal, The Times 7.5.2020
Our health minister is a medical professional with a scientific appreciation of disease and its spread. He not only reacted to the crisis proactively but also possessed the political clout to push through the provisions he believed were necessary. This was a luxury few countries possessed. Credit also goes to the prime minister and his cabinet, their advisory committees, as well as the opposition, for recognising the situation as a medical emergency. If there have been a few major disagreements in the health v economy tussle – which were inevitable – they were on the whole subsumed by a clear national message that even the business class largely endorsed: the first priority was to prevent this virus from spreading. Further, the department of health, through its staff, from the superintendent of public health down to the lowliest healthcare worker, has proven once again why Malta's healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world. It and the private health sector, which has contributed enormously to the national effort, is manned by highly-trained, dedicated staff who despite the enormous personal sacrifice of isolating themselves from their families and loved ones, put public well-being before their own personal needs.
Editorjal, The Times 5.6.2020
The government should be praised for launching a €900 million worth of fiscal incentives to help the Maltese economy recover from the aftereffects of the lockdown that saw thousands of businesses close their doors and income from tourism dry up.
Editorjal, The Times 10.6.2020
The Malta Employers' Association said this was a timely and focused fiscal package. "The measures will not restore the economy to pre-Covid levels of activity, nor are they expected to, if one is realistic. Yet they will certainly boost economic activity and sustain both businesses and consumers in the coming months," it said.
The Chamber of Commerce said it welcomed the government's measures, viewing them as widely reflecting its sentiments. "Several of the incentives are expected to help businesses turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity of growth through a re-engineered economy” said chamber president David Xuereb.
The Malta Developers' Association said its proposals had been accepted in full. “We are very satisfied that our proposals have been taken up as this will mean that the property and construction sector can continue to help our economic recovery. Our country will be passing through difficult times and with the right incentives we believe that the property market can contribute significantly to kickstart our economy again,” MDA president Sandro Chetcuti commented.
The National Youth Council welcomed the fact that employed students affected by the impact of Covid-19 would be included in the wage subsidy scheme and called for payments to be backdated.
The Chamber of SMEs (formerly GRTU) said the government programme would give a much needed helping hand to enterprises and get the economy going. It said its requests had been mostly met with the reduction of business costs and measures to boost domestic demand. Chamber president Paul Abela said that addressing rental costs, utility costs and costs on human resources was key for business survival and the chamber was pleased to note that the Covid Budget has addressed these. However, the rental aid was still deemed as too low.
The Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) welcomed the government's programme particularly the extension of wage subsidies, subsidies on rents, trade licences and utility expenses, and the provision of vouchers to be spent in leisure activities.
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association said the stimulus package was well thought out and a major boost for the tourism industry. MHRA President Tony Zahra said the plan demonstrated that the government had the right feel of the economic and social situation and this plan will effectively contribute to reigniting the tourism sector and the rest of the economy.
The GWU sang the government's praises and said several of its proposals had been upheld. It said the measures will instil confidence in investors, boost the economy and strengthen the jobs sector.