Today’s Editorials take a step back to reflect on the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, thinking about the present but also about life in the coming months.
The Times of Malta dedicates its leading op-ed to our neighbour, Italy, described as a huge friend and ally of post-Independence Malta. The Italian health service, especially in the industrial province of Bergamo and others in northern Italy, has come under severe strain. It was positive that teams from countries such as China and Cuba were supporting the country which finds itself in dire straits. The people of Malta, concludes the editor, can only express their deep and heartfelt solidarity for the people of Italy in the tragic situation in which they find themselves today.
Maltatoday leads with a proposal brought forward by former Finance Minister Tonio Fenech, who suggested an ‘economic time-out’, implying that taxes would be deferred, private sectors subsidized and landowners compensated for rent payment stoppage. While the paper defines this proposal as radical, it considers it as plausible, but at the same time, requires Government to identify other sources of revenue to compensate. In this context, the Editor suggests the consideration of a bank windfall tax. Banks have generated significant millions (BOV and HSBC alone generated over 260 million euro in 2019), and a higher proportion of tax could support the economy in this difficult period.
The Independent describes the present times as a world in agony, but starts asking questions relating to an eventual return to normality. In particular, the Editor wonders whether, when the worst is over, people will feel comfortable to board a plane or a cruise ship, or to feel comfortable again in social situations. The longer the prevailing situation remains, the harder it will get back to normality.
L-Orizzont focuses on Government’s economic intervention measures and welcomes the proactivity being shown in supporting those in need. This will ensure that businesses and jobs are offered adequate protection during these challenging times.
In-Nazzjon’s Editor takes a look at the empty roads, devoid of traffic and pollution, finding a silver lining in the strange quiet that we are getting accustomed to. The Editor hopes that this situation teaches us a few lessons that we should respect once things get back to normality.