A tax deferral scheme intended to give businesses some breathing room during the COVID-19 crisis has been extended to June, the Malta Chamber of SMEs said on Wednesday.

The Chamber said the government had informed social partners of its decision to extend the scheme during an MCESD meeting earlier in the day. 

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna used the meeting to unveil the government's financial projections for this year, though he cautioned that all forecasts could be upended by events.

The tax deferral scheme, unveiled in March by the government, is intended to give businesses whose trade has been damaged by the ongoing pandemic the opportunity to defer tax and social security contributions. 

Nine-month plan

During the MCESD meeting, the Chamber said, the government had also said it had a nine-month plan to continue supporting enterprises that required assistance to recover.

According to that plan, sectors given the green light to re-open once a coronavirus exit plan was being implemented will continue to receive support from the government until trade picks up. 

These, the chamber said, were very important support measures and the chamber appreciated the hard work of all involved to respond to the needs of businesses as fast as possible. 

The chamber also welcomed the initiative announced by parliamentary secretary Clayton Bartolo to again launch the eBiznify scheme, which could be instrumental in the current COVID-19 situation to help SMEs that were still not operating online to gain the necessary knowledge to successfully move their business online. 

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