Fabian Demicoli

A Budget that extends the safety-net for Businesses, more tax incentives should follow to enable new investments

Budget 2021

The Malta Chamber of SMEs is pleased to see a number of its Budget proposals taken up and welcomes the extension of the most important Covid Support measures.

The SME Chamber welcomes the extension of the wage supplement, as proposed, till end of March. It is apparent also that a fairer system will be adopted that ensures that all enterprises requiring help will be receiving this assistance. A positive development will also be the possibility to integrate new employees on this assistance, something that was causing great practical difficulties to business owners.

Another positive is the fresh round of vouchers that is announced to be released. The Malta Chamber of SMEs appreciates the fairer distribution of the allocation of the vouchers between sectors, which is another proposal that came from the SME Chamber and was taken up. This measure will be essential to re-energise consumption with immediate effect to guarantee the best outcome for the fast approaching most important business period for many sectors.

In line with the SME Chambers’ proposals, Budget 2021 also incentivises investments to help businesses in their digital and sustainable transformations. Businesses are being directed to re-engineer their business models and invest heavily in digital tools. The SME Chamber emphasis for strong incentives in this sense given the delicate condition many enterprises are in at the moment.

Tax incentives and the lowering of VAT rates would have boosted businesses’ ability to invest. A step that many other EU countries have taken, which is absent in Malta’s 2021 Budget. On the other hand however the SME Chamber positively notes the widening of the bracket for tax exempt businesses from Eur 20,000 to Eur 30,000.

Another necessary pillar for investment is the Banks. The Malta Chamber of SMEs believes that the Banks are still not delivering in being the protagonists they should be in the current situation. The banks must pull up their sleeves and see how they can ensure business survival and be catalysts for investment. All too often business owners are reporting failures in terms of banking support for SMEs.

All in all this budget aims to instill confidence in Maltese businesses and aims to sustain Malta’s economy during these exceptional circumstances. The SME Chamber will continue to offer support to its members and work hand in hand with the government in order to ensure the safeguarding of its members livelihoods and that of their employees.

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