BOV – MDB COVID-19 Assist

The Gozo Business Chamber has organised its second webinar on Thursday 14 May at 10:00 am.

Joseph Borg, President of the Gozo Business Chamber, introduced the webinar.  He highlighted how the Gozo Business Chamber has started to look into the future, beyond the post COVID-19 scenario.  This has resulted in the formulation of a document: ‘Post COVID-19 Strategic and Policy Document’ which the Chamber has presented to the Government.  The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Gozo hard, given that fifty per cent (50%) of Gozo’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is dependent on tourism.  He commented how:

“these are moments when we have spent and are spending a lot of time on the phone, emails, skype and zoom to hear about the plight of our members. It is a blow of unprecedented proportions where the unknown and uncertain have taken lead and where business people  have never felt so unsecure.”

Given this situation it is important for the Government to act in a timely and incisive manner.  Referring again to the document formulated by the Gozo Business Chamber, he highlighted how the Chamber is seeing the future of Gozo in the green economy and digitalisation.

Professor Josef Bonnici, Chairman of the Malta Development Bank (MDB) provided an overview of the Malta Development Bank’s work with respect to the COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme (CGS) and the COVID-19 Interest Rate Subsidy Scheme (CIRSS).  These schemes have translated into €777.8m loans to businesses.  Presently the MDB is setting up the operational modalities of the CIRSS in collaboration with local banks.

Albert Frendo, Chief Credit Officer of Bank of Valletta, provided an overview of the MDB COVID-19 Assist Scheme.  The purpose of the facility is to cover working capital requirements and shortfall in cashflow resulting from adverse business conditions following the COVID-19 outbreak.  Through this facility the bank is able to offer financing with minimal collateral requirements and at an advantageous interest rate.  He highlighted the eligible costs under the scheme; the loan amount and loan capping criteria; loan term, security, and state aid considerations; guarantee fee structure; interest rates; and required documentation.

A Question and Answer Session followed the presentations. Daniel Borg, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, closed the session.  He thanked Joseph Borg, Josef Bonnici, and Albert Frendo, for their interventions and presentations.  Daniel Borg highlighted how the Chamber has had to change its way of operating during these unprecedented times.  Through these webinars, which are being conducted free of charge for all those who register, even if these are not members of the Chamber, have the objective of providing assistance to the local business community. He also announced the third webinar on Monday 25 May, 2020 at 16:00 hrs.  The webinar will tackle ‘Stress within Management Roles in COVID-19 timesThe main speaker will be Dr Anton Grech, Clinical Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in the Ministry of Health, Malta.  Dr Grech is an acclaimed international expert on mental health issues, and a popular speaker on local media about the subject.

You can download the various interventions and presentations here:

https://www.facebook.com/www.gozobusinesschamber.org/videos/657877035061140/