Updated 1740 – Afternoon Portal Briefing
The Times of Malta reports that people can expect another social budget with no new taxes, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Tuesday. Speaking at the beginning of a pre-budget consultation meeting with the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), he assured employers and citizens that despite the international financial hardships, the Maltese economy continues to steadily grow stronger.
Maltatoday says that the Malta Employers Association has asked Government to cap COLA to 6 euros a week. The employers lobby group has also presented a survey which shows 55% of businesses are expecting a negative impact from COLA, which is expected to be around €10 per week next year
Newsbook also leads with Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, but focuses on Air Malta’s situation Caruana said that to turn the ailing fortunes of the national airline will cost government millions of euros. In comments to the press on Tuesday, Caruana said that in order to make Air Malta sustainable “I need to spend many more millions.”
The Malta Independent reports that a gaming company has been fined €130,460 by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit over several anti-money laundering breaches were found in its operations. Olimp Limited was handed the fine after an inspection carried out by the FIAU in 2020.
PM brushes off capping subsidies for wealthy: Prime Minister Robert Abela appeared to disagree with proposals to cap energy subsidies for the wealthy, saying the process would be complex and suggesting that it could actually have a negative impact on lower income earners. “The reality is that if you are going to raise [the price of energy] for higher categories of earners, the burden will be felt even by lower earners,” he said. The Chamber of Commerce has suggested in its pre-budget proposals that electricity units that are over and above the government’s eco-reduction entitlement should not be subsidised.
PN Finance Shadow calls for extension of reduced-tax property schemes: The PN’s spokesperson for Finance Jerome Caruana Cilia has called for the tax and duty schemes on property to be extended at least till the end of January 2023. His call refers to a temporary COVID-19 measure had been introduced in 2020, providing for a reduced tax and duty rate of 5% and 1.5% respectively, on the first €400,000 of immovable property’s value. The scheme comes to an end this month, but Caruana Cilia said that he had received a lot of feedback from bank officials, lawyers and notaries, “who have all stated that they need more time to be able to finish the administrative part of the process.”
Man involved in Valletta car fire dies: A 41-year-old man who was found lying on the ground alongside a burning car in Marsamxett, Valletta on Saturday has died. The man, identified as Liam Vidal, had been hospitalised in Mater Dei following serious injuries but unfortunately passed away today. Police have ruled out foul play despite reports on the sound of an explosion being made from Sliema Creek at the time of the incident.
Budget cuts necessary in view of energy crisis – Economy Minister
Minister Silvio Schembri sought to downplay government’s decision to postpone major investment projects, saying that the cuts are made necessary by government’s substantial spending on electricity and fuel subsidies to keep prices stable. Schembri also said that projects involving EU funding are not impacted by the review exercise. “It is not a question of size… it is a question of being more careful where to invest funds, especially in light of the millions being spent to subsidise the cost of energy for families and businesses,” Schembri said. (Maltatoday)
Maltese businesses report negative outlook – EIB
The European Investment Bank has given Malta a negative investment outlook, the only EU Member State with such a predicament. A Survey by the EIB found that businesses expecting to decrease their investment remaining slightly higher than those looking to increase it. The study also found that Maltese firms spent some 44% of their investments on replacement, in line with the EU average, while the highest share of investment was otherwise made in machinery and equipment (38%) followed by software, data and IT (22%), which increased by seven percentage points in the span of a year. (Times of Malta)
Ħamrun worker suffers grievious injury in building site incident
A 47-year old worker from Ħamrun was grievously injured this afternoon in Iklin. The accident occurred at around 2.00pm at a construction site in Triq il-Ħwawar when the victim fell off two-storey height while working on a wall. The worker was taken at Mater Dei hospital where he was certified to be suffering from grievous injuries. (TVM)