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Measures Announced by the Government re: COVID-19

1. Measures announced by Bank of Valletta and HSBC Bank Malta 

Bank of Valletta has announced a measure to support business customers who are being affected by the COVID-19 situation. These measures will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may include the following:

i. Capital repayment holidays ranging from between three to twelve months
ii. Ease of trade finance services via internet banking at no additional cost
iii. Provision of direct working capital up to Eur 500K per customer, for customers facing short term cash flow issues. This will be for a period of 6 months at 3.5%, repayable over 12 months at zero bank charges
In this regard, a budget of Eur 10 million is being allocated to alleviate cash flow problems that businesses may face during this period. Other terms and conditions may apply.

HSBC Bank Malta has announced the following measures to support the local business community, including the following:
i. Capital repayment holidays on term lending
ii. Fee free temporary short-term working capital funding in order to help businesses facing cash flow problems
iii. The issuance of shipping guarantees will be given immediate priority (as opposed to the standard same-day issuance) without the client incurring any urgency fees
iv. Waiver of amendment fees on letters of credit impacted by delays in view of changes brought about by late shipments and late presentation of documents

2. Extension of Promise of Sale Agreements
In the case of a national shutdown, whereby Government departments will be closed, Promise of sale agreements expiring during this period will be given an extension of 45 days.

3. Postponement of Payment of Certain Taxes
The Malta Enterprise, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced that a two month extension is being provided to entities, to pay Provisional Tax, VAT and National Insurance Contributions on Salaries, covering taxes owed till the end of April. This deferment is not applicable to the submission of the respective statutory forms, since in this regard the normal deadlines will apply.
This incentive is primarily aimed at entities within the tourism and hospitality, entertainment, transport and manufacturing sectors which are affected by the current situation.
Please note that more guidelines will need to be issued by Malta Enterprise, in this regard.

4. Facilitation of Teleworking Activities
This grant is aimed to support entities which are investing in technology to enable themselves and their employees to engage in teleworking. The grant will cover the period from 1st March to 30th March 2020 and will be equivalent to 45% of the eligible costs incurred up to Eur 4,000 per undertaking.

Please note that the Malta Enterprise will be accepting applications for this grant up till the 30th March 2020 and will benefit from the De Minimis State Aid.

The application will need to state the number of teleworking agreements entered into during the above mentioned period and also a short explanation on how the teleworking arrangement will function explaining how employees will have access to company data, for instance through VPN or Cloud Services.

Furthermore, the costs incurred need to be listed down in the application and a copy of the fiscal invoice and proof of payment need to be provided. If items claimed have been leased, a copy of the lease agreement needs to be provided which must be for a term of at least one-year. A copy of each teleworking contract for each employee for which the equipment is being claimed, needs to be provided, which must state the equipment the employee took responsibility for. 

5. Micro Invest Deadlines
The Malta Enterprise has announced that the primary deadline for the submission of the micro invest application has been extended from the 24th March 2020, to the 30th April, 2020.

6. Measures in relation to Salaries 
No announcement has been effected as yet in relation to measures, if any, which will be taken by the Government to assist entities in sustaining wage costs of employees during this period. However the Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises together with other stakeholders are continuously pressuring the Government to consider the implementation of measures in this respect.

Kindly note that this information has been sourced from research carried out on local media by Parker Randall Turner. The above information is all that we have at hand at the moment however we will do our best to keep you informed of any further developments. Furthermore, we will not be held responsible for any inaccuracies resulting from the sources mentioned above.

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