- State Aid: European Commission approves €40 million Maltese support scheme to grant interest rate subsidies to companies
- Removal of Restrictive Measures
- Procedure Manual issued for Malta’s Tourism Infrastructure
- Malta Development Bank: COVID-19 Interest Rate Subsidy Scheme
- Malta Development Bank: Updated Guidelines on COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme
- Malta Enterprise: Publication of Rent Subsidy Scheme Guidelines
- Central Bank of Malta: Amendments to Directive No. 8
- Commissioner for Revenue: Registrations of Fiscal Units
1. State Aid: European Commission approves €40 million Maltese support scheme to grant interest rate subsidies to companies
The European Commission has approved a €40 million Maltese interest rate subsidy scheme under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020 and 8 May 2020. The measure supports companies facing acute liquidity shortages due to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
This follows the Malta Development Bank’s announcement made on 21 April 2020, wherein the Malta Development Bank has issued a press release announcing that it was appointed as the implementing body of the Interest Rate Subsidy scheme complementing to the COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme (you may read our previous alert here).
1. Removal of Restrictive Measures
During a press conference held on 18 May 2020, the Prime Minister of Malta has announced that as from Friday 22 May, the following changes will be implemented:
- the number of persons who can gather together in public places will rise from 4 to 6. Rules governing social distancing and against crowding must continue to be observed;
- in the cultural sector, open-air cinemas will be allowed to reopen;
- individual non-contact sports will be permitted;
- outdoor training for other sports will be permitted so long as the group is up to a maximum of 6 persons;
- funeral Masses will once again be permitted, with a limited number of people;
- restaurants will reopen, with tables up to a maximum of 6 people and with established distances in order to protect one group on a table from another. Restaurants which have outdoor facilities will preferably use these;
- hairdressers, barbers, nail technicians and beauticians will reopen, and must operate on an appointment basis and implement restrictions which safeguard employees and clients.
Health services which had been suspended because of the pandemic will resume too.
2. Procedure Manual issued for Malta’s Tourism Infrastructure
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry for Health have issued a procedure manual for a number of tourism establishments and other tourism receiving operations to ensure compliance in the fields of social distancing, enhancing hygienic practices and the minimization of COVID-19 infection risks. Amongst other things, the manuals introduce sector-specific mandatory conditions and checklists for accommodation establishments, catering establishments, outdoor and beach establishments.
The procedure manual may be accessed here.
3. Malta Development Bank: COVID-19 Interest Rate Subsidy Scheme
Further to the European Commission’s approval, the Malta Development Bank has provided further detail on the COVID-19 Interest Rate Subsidy Scheme (CIRSS). MDB has clarified that the interest rate subsidy will apply automatically to all recipients of working capital loans approved by accredited commercial banks under the COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme.
Through the CIRSS, all beneficiaries under the CGS are eligible or a grant of up to 2.5 percentage points on the loan for the initial two years of the loan. The borrower has to pay an interest rate of at least 0.1% on the loan plus the guarantee fee.
4. Malta Development Bank: Updated Guidelines on COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme
The Malta Development Bank has updated its guidance on CGS such that bond coupons on listed securities are now included as eligible costs which may be covered by the working capital loans provided in terms of the CGS. The updated guidance also provides a definition of the term SMEs (as defined in the EU Recommendation 2003/361) and outlines the Guarantee Fees due on working capital loans.
In addition, the guidance lists another bank which has been approved as an accredited commercial bank for the purposes of offering facilities under the CGS.
5. Malta Enterprise: Publication of Rent Subsidy Scheme Guidelines
Following the publication of Legal Notice 187 of 2020 (you may read our previous alert here), Malta Enterprise has published the relevant Guidelines for the scheme.
The scheme supports undertakings that require industrial space as a temporary, or permanent, solution to support their business activity and is applicable to businesses engaged in manufacturing, maintenance and repairs of motor vehicles, repair of machinery and equipment an other industrial activities. The aid will be awarded in the form of a cash grant and will be up to 50% of the cost incurred (after excluding taxes). The aid will be subject to a capping of €25,000 per annum, and may be approved for a period of 3 consecutive years.
The Rent Subsidy Guidelines may be accessed here.
6. Central Bank of Malta: Amendments to Directive No. 8
The Central Bank of Malta has implemented in full the European Central Bank’s Governing Council’s Guideline ECB/2020/29 through amendments effected to its Directive No. 8. The amendments comprise:
- the admission of certain marketable assets and issuers eligible on 7 April 2020;
- new valuation haircut levels applied to asset-backed securities;
- new valuation haircut levels applied to marketable assets, other than asset-backed securities.
Such amendments are applicable from 18 May 2020.
7. Commissioner for Revenue: Registrations of Fiscal Units
The Commissioner for Revenue has notified that the Online Application for the Registration of a Fiscal Unit in terms of the Consolidated Group (Income Tax) Rules, (S.L. 123.189) has become available on the Commissioner for Revenue’s income tax portal.
Guidelines on the registration process have also been made available. Amongst other items, the guidelines provide that the deadline for companies having a 31 December year-end to apply as principal taxpayers to form a fiscal unit for year of assessment 2020 is 31 August 2020.