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According to the last week, Malta got 1.000 new cases, generating a record on the last weeks. Additionally, 9 new deaths and 73.644 total vaccine doses so far were supplied.
The economy comes before the deficit. Safeguarding the economy and protecting jobs come before considerations about the deficit, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told parliament on Wednesday.
He said that last year, revenue from VAT had dropped by €450 million while revenue from income and corporate tax was down by €200 million as tourism practically collapsed, and, domestically, people stayed at home and spending patterns changed.
The government had spent €360 million on a COVID-19 wage supplement and spending on health increased by €110 million. These two figures alone accounted for 4% of GDP.
Last year, he said, the government also spent €50m on vouchers to kickstart the local economy, an exercise which would be repeated this year. Some €50 million was also spent to repatriate people from and to Malta.
Once the pandemic passed, the extraordinary spending would cease, and revenue would kick in as the economy recovered. The deficit would then drop without the need for government intervention to raise taxes.
The government pays more for jabs to speed up vaccination programme, some jabs being bought at more than twice their ordinary price.
The government is paying more than twice the price of some vaccine jabs so that as many people as possible get vaccinated in the shortest possible time, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has revealed in parliament.
He was replying to a question by Nationalist MP Joseph Ellis, who observed that the minister had told an interviewer that Malta is paying an additional €16 for each Pfizer vaccine jab when the price negotiated by the European Commission is €12 per vaccine. In his reply, the minister said it is in the interest of the Maltese people that as many people a possible get vaccinated in the shortest possible time. The outlay is justified in the interests of public health and livelihood.
Malta Chamber urges members to respect measures and offer to telework. Malta’s business lobby has urged people to act responsibly and respect social distancing regulations, warning that a failure to do so could lead to restrictive measures that could hurt the nation’s economy. The Malta Chamber noted that Malta had been able to get by without the restrictive lockdowns many other countries had gone through.
It reminded its members that it is crucial for them to strictly observe mitigation measures within workplaces and offer teleworking arrangements “wherever possible”. “Only those workers who have no other option but to work on-site should be asked to do so. Any social gatherings should be avoided, both in the workplace and beyond,” it said.