Malta Budget 2019: The main business points
When Malta’s Finance Minister delivered the Budget 2019 speech, he painted a picture of a thriving Maltese economy. This is a budget that aims to maintain the momentum of Malta’s economic growth, with the financial surplus projected to reach 1.3% - or 0.5% when excluding the revenue from the Individual Investor Programme.
Recent figures released by the National Statistics Office and Eurostat showed that Malta was the best performing country in the EU in 2017, with a surplus of +3.5 %.
In light of the country’s strong financial stance, this was a budget in which no new taxes, tariffs or duties were announced. What’s more, various measures were announced to boost key sectors. Here are the main points that mostly impact businesses and workers in the Maltese islands.
This year’s budget contains various measures that seek to continue attracting investment to Malta and Gozo by providing incentives and supporting businesses. These are the major ones:
- A new entity called Tech.MT will focus on marketing Malta as a hub for digital economy and disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain
- Government will continue strengthening Blockchain legislation
- SMEs with business in the UK will get help to navigate through Brexit thanks to a Malta Enterprise business advisory
- Government will continue offering support to start ups with the Seed Investment Scheme
- The Fintech sector will also be offered financial support through the Fintech Accelerator programme
- The iGaming industry will continue being boosted, with special attention on attracting eSports companies and events to Malta
- New Air Malta routes will welcome an additional 250,000 tourists
- Government will continue investing in making Malta attractive to tourists with the creation of new beaches, and the regeneration of touristic areas like Paceville and Marsaxlokk
During the budget speech it emerged that the country saw a record increase in employment, with the number of people in employment surpassing 200,000. This intake was mainly driven by the private sector. Measures related to work include:
- An extra day of leave for workers
- Minimum wage workers to get €3 a week (over-and-above the cost of living wage adjustment of €2.33 per week), provided they have been on minimum wage for at least one year
- Income tax refund of €40 to €68 per worker
- Self-employed individuals forced to close shop will be eligible for unemployment benefits until they find work
- Public sector workers will be offered the chance to work past their pensionable age, in line with private sector provisions
- Part-time workers will be exempt from paying income tax, as long as they earn less than €9,000
- Private sector workers who commute from Gozo will be eligible for a partial refund of their Gozo Channel ferry ticket
- Public sector workers who use collective transport when coming to Malta from Gozo will get €1.50 daily allowance
The terrible state of rush hour traffic on the island is often a burden to businesses. The budget seeks to address this through the following measures:
- €100m allocated for road reconstruction
- Public-private partnerships to turn private lots into public car parks are also in the pipeline
- Free public transport extended to 14 and 15-year-olds and all full-time students aged 20 and over
Over the next year, the government will be rolling out these and other measures, and announcing further details on how they will be implemented in practice.
If you need support with making sense of how your business can benefit from any of the measures announced in the budget, you can contact one of the Business Consultants listed on Yellow.
Keep discovering local - www.yellow.com.mt