Measures the government planned to roll out this year as announced in the Budget are still on track despite revenue tacking a hit because of COVID-19, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said.

Addressing a press conference on one of those measures — tax refunds – Scicluna said that while the government’s revenue “is not on track, the Budget remains”.  

The refund scheme, now in its third year, will pump some €11.5 million into the economy.

Workers who paid tax, the minister said, would be receiving a cheque of between €40 and €68, depending on their salary, with those earning less getting more.

“Some people try to ridicule the scheme but this is also an anti-poverty measure as you have what is known as distribution. Without such planning, you cannot eradicate poverty,” Scicluna said.

He also pointed out that while the government’s measures amid the coronavirus outbreak have helped thousands of people, the real impact on people as a result of the fallout from the virus had yet to be quantified.

Questioned on the reduction of stamp duty on property purchases, the minister said that this was “for everyone” and that those buying property in Gozo would also benefit from the scheme.

He said that the impact on Gozo as a result of the lack of tourists could not be countered but insisted that the government would continue to work to ensure the island gets back on its feet.

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