The Cabinet will be convening at 6pm on Monday to discuss additional measures aimed at helping businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and safeguarding jobs.
It is not excluded that the measures announced last week, including the direct financial assistance to help employees cover the cost of salaries, will be bolstered.
Many businesses are facing difficulties as sales have plummetted as a result of the partial lockdown the country is in. The tourism sector has been hit especially hard, and non-essential shops have been told to close as of today.
On Wednesday last week, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced a €1.8 billion package aimed at safeguarding businesses and jobs. The measures, however, were criticised by the Opposition and the business sector, who said that only around €200 million are in the form of direct assistance.
On Sunday, this newsroom reported that Economy Minister Silvio Schembri had proposed doubling the direct financial assistance being offered to businesses. Up until Sunday, there was no agreement on the proposed measures as there was some resistance by “conservative elements.”
Schembri said in a Facebook post that the government needs to be less conservative and have to courage to do more to save businesses and jobs.
Prime Minister Abela also said on Sunday that the measures announced on Wednesday were “ambitious” but signalled that they could be changed.
The government’s whip Glenn Bedingfield meanwhile accepted a request from the Opposition bench to hold a debate in Parliament on the package announced last week. The Opposition had wanted the debate to take place today, but the government asked for it to take place on Wednesday instead.