Malta spends over 1.6 bln euros on COVID support measures

VALLETTA, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Malta has spent more than 1.6 billion euros (1.58 billion U.S. dollars) on support measures since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, the country's Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Wednesday.

Of the 1.66 billion euros spent on tackling coronavirus, 1.5 billion euros came from the national treasury. Some 150 million euros was provided through the European Social Fund and the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU).

Just over 662 million euros were spent on measures in 2020, the Finance Minister explained. This increased to just over 706 million euros in 2021, but support dropped to just under 300 million in 2022.

Most of the funds were spent on supplementing wages, with workers being offered around 800 euros a month to help employers sustain their jobs. This measure alone cost around 842 million euros.

Several sectors also received direct support, such as the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and the voucher scheme which helped retail outlets. (1 euro = 0.99 U.S. dollars)

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