Together with Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia, Minister Dalli addressed a press conference during which it was announced that the Wage Supplement Scheme will be extended for another month and weaned off this May.
A number of stakeholders and social partners were also present.
The scheme, which was crucial to the survival of Maltese enterprises and employees' income throughout the pandemic, was launched in March 2020 as the Maltese economy started to feel the brunt of COVID-19. Following further consultations, it was restructured at different points to improve support for the worst affected enterprises and self-employed.
Over 17,000 businesses were assisted, and some 120,000 employees have benefited from the scheme. This policy decision encouraged businesses to retain employees, without the need to let them go and then re-employ them – effectively paving the way for the current economic regeneration phase.
The sectors that received the largest volume of support included hospitality and food, retail, and the services industries.
Minister Miriam Dalli explained that the support to businesses will not be terminated but will in fact continue by means of shifting towards measures that enhance regeneration; specifically, a modal shift towards sustainable and digital transformation.
“The wage supplement has been a crucial tool for enterprises to face the pandemic. The support offered by the government ensured that our businesses kept going. But for businesses to thrive we need to make sure that we support them in transitioning towards greener and more sustainable operations that also embrace digitalisation. It is this transition, whilst supporting economic regeneration, that will allow our businesses to thrive", said Minister Dalli.
Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia thanked all Malta Enterprise employees who have been working tirelessly to make the scheme a success, and beneficiaries for their understanding of the realities that Malta Enterprise had to operate within.
“Since day one, the management and team members at Malta Enterprise have given their utmost, knowing that we were dealing with the livelihood of the majority of our private sector employees. I thank all our staff for their commitment which went above and beyond their working hours. I would also like to thank the beneficiaries for understanding the constraints that we had to operate in, as we processed thousands of applications without the possibility of meeting applicants in person. We look forward to continue supporting our local businesses via schemes such as the Smart and Sustainable Investment Grant which is a clear example of how investing in Green and Digital really pays", said Kurt Farrugia.