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2 NEWS 29.4.2021 Chamber welcomes regeneration economic support measures launched by government THE Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry welcomes the launch of the regeneration incentives that have been announced by Govern- ment in addition to top-ups to existing direct support schemes. e regenera- tion incentives go beyond addressing the immediate liquidity needs, and are aimed at supporting and re-energising businesses and the Maltese economy in the process of recovery. e Malta Chamber applauds the en- hanced Business Re-Engineering and Transformation Scheme – 'Change to Grow', which it championed since its inception back in June 2020. is scheme is now open to a wider cohort of economic operators including mi- cro-enterprises and self-employed en- trepreneurs, and the maximum grant has been doubled to €10,000 for im- plemented projects to further encour- age uptake. e Restart Incentive Scheme, an- other initiative proposed by e Malta Chamber, is also highly commenda- ble. "In addition to business advisory support, it includes professional psy- chological support that shows com- mitment to safeguarding the mental wellbeing of entrepreneurs who are having a particularly tough time as a result of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic," said Chamber President Ms Marisa Xuer- eb. e extension of the Tax Credit Cer- tificates issued through the Micro-In- vest Scheme until 2026 is also a step in the right direction, as it that enables businesses to utilise pre-pandemic tax credits that cannot be availed of before businesses become profitable again. e 'Smart and Sustainable Invest- ment Scheme' is well-aligned to e Chamber's economic vision for 2020- 2025, 'Smart, Sustainable Island'. e Malta Chamber remains committed to support the business community and relevant authorities in ensuring a robust recovery through investment in human capital, digital transforma- tion, and the adoption of sustainable technologies. THE Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) has reiterated its satis- faction that Government keeps supporting businesses and employees in striving during such difficult times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "e continuous support which Government is giving to businesses facing dif- ficulties is a clear demonstration that our decision makers believe that investing in our economy to keep it going is the best way to manage its way out success- fully from what is a very difficult situation for all," MHRA President Tony Zahra said. MHRA said it was pleased to note that the schemes announced earlier this week by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Minister for Enterprise Miriam Dalli, include the extension of current incentives as well as refined new ones which directly or indirectly keep sustaining hotels and restaurants in preparing them- selves to gear up for the summer season. THE Gozo Business Chamber said in a statement that the number of measures that were announced on Tuesday by the Ministry for the En- terprise targeted towards the regen- eration of the Maltese economy, and the socio-economic context in which these measures will be implemented. The Chamber was also part of these discussions in which, it highlighted the need for measures to be target- ed more towards small and micro businesses, and for measures to be positively skewed towards Gozo, es- pecially in the digital and the green economy sectors. The Chamber be- lieves these two sectors are econom- ic niches which can create real value added for the Gozitan economy in the long term. To this end the Chamber welcome the direct support measures and the other incentives aimed at stimulat- ing economic activity. These include both the extension of the rent and electricity support schemes, and the one-time cash grant of € 1,000 for those who will remain closed. In this context one needs to take into consideration the bars which will remain closed, and where a date for their opening has not yet been de- termined, and the restaurants which will be opened, but in a limited measure. In this scenario it is impor- tant that these businesses, so crucial for the Maltese economy continue to be assisted during this period. To this end the Chamber also ac- knowledged the scheme whereby physchological support will be pro- vided to entrepreneurs. At a crucial point in the pandemic in May of last year, the Chamber had pointed out this issue when it had organised a specific webinar on the stress faced by entrepreneurs during this dif- ficult period. The stress has been compounded, considering also that travelling restrictions between Gozo and Malta have been in place for a number of months, and will only be lifted on the 10th of May. The Chamber also noted positively the 'Change to Grow 2021 Scheme', the 'Restart Incentive Scheme', the 'Extension of the tax credit cer- tificate through the Micro-invest scheme', and the 'Support and Sus- tainable Investment Scheme' which will be offered across all sectors. It welcomed the announcement that a higher threshold for Gozitan based investments will apply. The digital and the green economy sectors are the two main pillars for economic recovery highlighted by the European Union. These are two sectors which are not impinged by the physical limitations of islands. In this sense one has to note the in- vestments by Government in this area mainly through the second fibre optic link and the Digital Innovation Hub. The latter is being seen by the Chamber as an important step in Gozo's future economic growth to eventually become a main hub for digital economic activity on the is- land. Further efforts are needed in this direction with an economic model which can make settling in the Digital Innovation Hub both at- tractive and feasible, the Chamber said. MHRA praises continuous support to businesses by government New government measures welcomed by Gozitan Chamber

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