The 2020 Budget - A Simple Guide For Students In Malta 🤑
Here we are again, The Budget. For anyone who doesn't know, the budget is kind of like an annual "patch notes" for the government, where they release all the changes and updates they'll be implementing in the coming years. This year a lot of people have given the various initiatives praise - but some doubters still have their specific issues.
Below, we've accumulated a list of points that we think will be the most interesting to our student community, going over general changes, changes to education and pensioners, capital investments, and all the new initiatives going towards a better environment. Enjoy 😅
1) General Changes
Firstly, there are large changes coming to Malta's ferry systems. The number of ferry landing sites is about to be increased to include Cottonera, Marsaxlokk, Marsascala, St Paul's Bay, St Julian's, Mellieħa and more. Existing ferry landing sites, which are located in Sliema, Marsamxett and Bormla, will also be upgraded.
Furthermore, the pre-qualification questionnaire for the Gozo tunnel will be issued in the coming weeks. Parents who take care of children with a rare disease will be awarded eight years of National Insurance payments. Also, single parents and other households will then receive €15 and €35 respectively, to account for milk and bread price increases.
• One day will be added to leave
• Cash transactions in real estate, car, yacht, precious metals and art purchases will be limited to €10,000
• COLA of €3.49 per week - COLA essentially meaning a pay boost
• Malta Enterprise will invest in open areas in industrial estates to make them greener and adequate meeting areas for employees.
• The ex-dump site in Luqa will be transformed into sports facilities, housing the Valletta FC football ground & a new enterprise zone, also work on a Cottonera adventure park will start.
The most interesting piece of news here is that a Maltese language online spell checker will be undergoing development, at a cost of €8 million. Just for reference, that's about the same price as 3 private jets, just for an online dictionary, but that's none of my business I guess.
There was also an investment of over €7M to improve the student facilities offered by the University of Malta, MCAST and ITS, and construction of the new ITS campus in SmartCity, which will include a hotel run by students.
• Youths to be given a grant of up to €850 to study a foreign language overseas
• Video game development and Esports measures shall be introduced. Educational incentives are also expected to be announced in order to aid students specialising in areas relevant to these industries
• The one tablet per child scheme will be extended to cover middle schools
• A new study on the weight of student bags will be introduced
• More drinking water fountains will be introduced in schools
• VAT will be removed on educational and vocational services, including distance learning
3) Pensioners & Grandparents
• All those who are 75 and over will get free public transport
• Pensioners will receive an increase of €7 per week, inclusive of COLA
• People who retire from disciplinary corps after 25 years of service will have their retirement pension recalculated upon reaching retirement age
• The supplementary allowance for over 65 will increase by €50 to €150
• The old-age benefit of €300 for those over 75 will be retained and increased to €350 for those 80+
4) Capital Investments
• The government is expected to continue implementing its investment programme on road infrastructure with an annual budget of €100M to span over 7 years
• Marsa junction project, Santa Lucija tunnel, Central Link project, Msida flyovers and St Julian’s connections project will continue, while in other cases, are marked to commence next year
• Improving accessibility for farmers by upgrading rural and secondary roads
• Restoration of national heritage sites, including the Cottonera and Victoria Lines, Fort Ricasoli and the National Library
5) Climate Change & Malta’s Green Footprint
Malta’s green footprint and long-term environmental sustainability are key themes of the 2020 Budget. Government unveiled plans for a national strategy geared towards achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050, that is, a 0% carbon footprint.
To get this strategy started on the right foot, there will be a commitment to phase out the importation and, eventually, the widespread use of vehicles propelled by pollutive engines. Incentivising the purchase and use of electric cars is another step the government will be taking, by committing to installing more charging points around the Maltese Islands, as well as incentivising domestic charging points through reduced electricity tariffs
Also on a very important note, single-use plastics will be abolished with almost immediate effect. The importation and manufacturing of plastic plates, straws, cutlery and bags shall be banned from the 1st January 2021, while trade in such products shall be prohibited outright starting the following year on the 1st January 2022.
• Building upon existing afforestation initiatives, in particular, the construction of a ‘green lung’ in Santa Venera, which is an area of natural parkland within an urban region, made to replenish the air with clean oxygen.
• A €2M investment in the Ta’ Qali National Park
• Roll-out of a recycling scheme for beverage containers
• The introduction of a heavy machinery scrappage scheme. Operators within the construction sector will be offered an incentive of up to €200,000 to scrap ageing machinery in favour of greener and less noisy technology.