An hour-long press conference by Prime Minister Robert Abela to launch an aid package for industries hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak cost taxpayers close to €15,000 or €250 per minute.

Details on this costly event were divulged by the prime minister himself in reply to a parliamentary question from Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi.

Held on the evening of Tuesday March 24, this news conference was held at the Excelsior Hotel in the presence of various representatives of constituted bodies and trade unions. The event marked government’s third COVID-19 aid package to industry, specifically the €800 wage supplement meant to encourage employers keeping their workers on the books in sectors like tourism where operations had ground to a halt.

In his reply, the prime minister said that the total expense incurred to hold this news conference was of €12,693.82. However, the figure was not inclusive of VAT meaning that the total bill was of €14,978.71.

Abela said the event marked the package which had been agreed within the Malta Council of Economic and Social Development, to address the worst crisis which hit Malta since the Second World War.

The prime minister said the total aid being given under these packages ranged between €65 million to €70 million per month.

He added that more aid was in the pipeline.

“It could be that more measures could be rolled out to safeguard workers, families, and businesses,” he said.  

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Azzopardi took a dig at the prime minister saying this was the same news conference in which Abela announced he would be renouncing one month’s salary.

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