Budget 2021: MEA welcomes fiscal incentive but note lack of long-term vision

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The MEA welcomed the extension of the COVID supplement to March 2021 which it described as influential in keeping unemployment relatively low in the coming months.

The employers’ organisation said that this can be sustained through the €120m React EU funds and other funds which the EU has issued as a crisis response. It also noted that the budget also consists of sprinkling of benefits and fiscal incentives targeting various sectors
of society, with the increase in pensions and the VAT exempt thresholds being particularly effective.

However, the organisation described the increase in optional leave is a frivolous measure and will unnecessarily erode our national competitiveness.

In its statement, the MEA welcomed the fact that the Minister of Finance thanked the business community for their resilience in retaining their employees to keep unemployment
amongst the lowest in the EU.

While it welcomed the provision of a new set of vouchers, it noted that this measure, costing €30m, has to be seen against a backdrop of a national budget that exceeds €4bn.

The employers also said that while the budget focuses on the immediate concerns due to the COVID pandemic through a set of carefully designed and targeted measures, it needs to be supplemented with a longer term vision for the country through identifying new economic sector that
offer economic potential.

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