PM confirms Papal visit in first three months of 2022 / Malta News Briefing – Friday 8 October 2021

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Times of Malta says tensions ran high at the murder trial of Hugo Chetcuti on Friday as the victim’s brother-in-law cried, shouted and gestured while testifying and blamed himself for being an “idiot” by giving the accused another chance.

MaltaToday reports a man has been acquitted of marital rape and sexually abusing his underage daughter, in a case started on the complaint of his estranged wife

Newsbook reports that Malta is topping the Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index, the Minister for Health, Chris Fearne announced today.

TVM says that Prime Minister Robert Abela is at the Vatican for his first meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis

Updated 1525 – PM confirms Q1 Pope visit

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that that Pope Francis will be visiting Malta between January and March 2022. He was addressing the press following a private meeting with the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome.

Updated 1230 – Mid-Day Briefing

Covid-19 Update: Active cases took an uptick on Friday as 24 new cases exceeded 13 recoveries, to reach 282. Eight persons remain in hospital, but one patient has now been moved to intensive therapy.

Govt to accept 15% minimum tax threshold pushed by OECD

Government has accepted in principle a reform mooted at OECD level, which forges ahead with plans to introduce a minimum tax of 15% on large companies. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has confirmed such reports this morning, saying that Malta had expressed reservations at the imposed thresholds, which sees companies exhibiting a turnover in excess of EUR 750m to be the first hit with such new measures, and the excluded sectors.
For the past three decades, Malta has defended its right to determine its own fiscal measures, and although corporate taxation was set at a high 35%, a series of measures, including a refund scheme allowing enterprise to recoup some six-sevenths of re-invested profits, allowed businesses to effectively pay a tax of 5%.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told Maltatoday that there was no scope objecting to such reforms given that the international community was determined to go ahead with such plans anyway.

Contractor who abandoned migrant worker granted bail

Glen Farrugia, the contractor who is being accused of abandoning a migrant worker who had just suffered spinal injuries on the side of the road, has been released on bail. The 31-year-old, one of two shareholders and a director of the company J&G Farrugia Contractors, had been remanded in custody upon arraignment on charges related to an incident involving a migrant construction worker who was left injured after a workplace accident.
He has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Lamin Jaiteh from Gambia, as well as several other charges relating to breaches of occupational health and safety and labour market laws, including failing to pay Jaiteh correctly for working on a public holiday, failing to pay for unutilised vacation leave, Saturday pay and overtime, as well as the statutory bonus, tax and national insurance.

Jaiteh testified via video-conference that he had crawled to the pavement in pain after being dumped in the middle of the road by his boss. A woman who found Jaiteh in the road and helped him, also testified. Farrugia was ordered to guarantee his release with a €10,000 deposit and a personal guarantee of €30,000. He must also observe a curfew and sign a bail book three times a week.

Malta News Briefing

Chamber highlights inflation worries

The Chamber of Commerce has highlighted the cost of living as a factor potentially dampening recovery, with rising costs expected to lead 42% of businesses to increase their prices in the next 12 months. Quoting a survey carried out in the past days, just over half of businesses expect prices to remain the same, and just six per cent envisage a drop in prices.

The Chamber said that the top concern for businesses for the final quarter of 2021 was restoring profitability, with optimism among Malta’s entrepreneurs falling after a surge in June, the survey found. The businesses who replied to the survey mentioned freight prices, salary costs and substantial increase in prices of raw materials and components. The index for the fourth quarter shows that the proportion of businesses that expect higher profits in the year ahead dropped to 26% from 51% in the previous three months.

ME launches scheme for sustainable and digitalised operations
To further encourage enterprises to invest in sustainable and digitalised operations, businesses may benefit from up to €70,000 to implement projects which lead to more sustainable and digital processes. The Smart & Sustainable scheme, managed by Malta Enterprise, will incentivize more competitiveness and better use of resources which will enhance the economic activity of these businesses.
With the Smart & Sustainable scheme, businesses can benefit from up to €50,000 for every project, whereby those eligible can benefit from a 50% of the total eligible costs. Moreover, those eligible for this scheme may also benefit from a tax credit of up to €20,000 for each product which satisfies at least two from the three criteria, which are:

a) New investment or an expansion in Gozo.
b) A project which will be implemented by an enterprise which is in a start-up phase.
c) Reduction of carbon which is determined through an independent auditor by the enterprise

Covid-19 Update: Nineteen new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, with nine virus patients currently requiring hospital treatment. 15 persons recovered, increasing slightly the active case tally to 271.

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