Gaming firm quits just before Christmas / Malta News Briefing- Saturday 24 December 2022

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Mid-Day Briefing

Gaming firm quits just before Christmas

A gaming firm has closed off its operations in Malta, terminating the job for around 140 remaining employees. Employees were in for a bad Christmas news on Friday, when they were told that Genesis Global Limited had filed for insolvency and that they were being made redundant after it had decided to “permanently close its operation in Malta”. Government said that its gaming agency would be reaching out to the dismissed workers to support them in finding alternative employment. (Times of Malta)

EC greenlights support to fast ferry operators

The European Commission has consented to the request by the Maltese government to offer the two Gozo fast ferry operators up to €2 million each, under the EU’s Temporary Crisis Framework scheme. However, reports suggest that the government is seeking approval to offer the same two companies an additional €12 million two-year public service contract, with firms in the sector crying foul. According to Maltatoday, experts in the transport industry have expressed doubt that the Commission could sanction state aid to two competing companies within a market that clearly does not merit two operators, more so when these are competing against a regular ferry service, operated by Gozo Channel, a state-owned company.

100,000 visit Christmas in the Park

More than 100,000 persons attended the second edition of Christmas in the Park in Salini. Spanning over 10 days, and with free entrance, the Salini National Park was turned into a Christmas Village, attracting locals and foreigners alike. The village served both as a Christmas attraction and an educational experience about sustainable development and environmental care. Crafts, products and stalls promoted sustainability whilst giving children and adults a hands-on experience

Morning Briefing

Debt levels increase by €707m in a year – NSO

At the end of November 2022, Central Government debt stood at €8,864.5 million, an increase of €707.5 million
from 2021, fresh data by the NSO shown. Compared to the same period in 2021, there was a decrease in deficit of €487.1 million. This difference mirrors an increase in total Recurrent Revenue (€554.4 million), partly offset by a rise in total expenditure. Between January and November 2022, Recurrent Revenue amounted to €5,107.6 million, 12.2 per cent higher than the €4,553.2 million reported a year earlier. The largest increase was recorded under Value Added Tax (€236.0 million), followed by Income Tax (€190.6 million) and Social Security (€141.0 million). During the reference period, Recurrent Expenditure totalled €5,017.5 million, an increase of €134.8 million in comparison to the €4,882.8 million reported during the corresponding period in 2021. The main contributor to this increase was a €102.3 million rise reported under Programmes and Initiatives. Furthermore, increases were also witnessed under Personal Emoluments (€25.2 million) and Contributions to Government Entities (€18.6 million).

NAO highlights lack of financial oversight in Tourism Foundation
The National Audit Office said that the Tourism Zones Foundation, which is funded throuyh a ourist tax to carry out maintenance works, waste collection and cleansing in designated tourism zones, has no “little or no monitoring” mechanisms in place to ensure good financial management. The NAO said its investigation highlighted an array of problems at the , including flouting of public procurement rules, project cost overruns, lack of verification before payments were made and a failure to present audited accounts. (Times of Malta)

A third of Maltese follow Ukraine developments
According to a Eurobarometer survey, more than a third of Maltese follow at least three times a week developments in the Ukraine war and 70% agreed with the humanitarian aid being given to Ukraine by Malta. A substantial majority said Government measures to cushion current negative impacts caused by the war in Ukraine on energy provision have proved very positive. (TVM)

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