“This is a case of survival” – Howard Keith, MEIA President

What changes have local companies made to cope with these unusual times? How is the economy going to survive? And what can local businesses do to stay ahead of the curve?

In the Newsbook.com.mt series ‘Business Talks’, Coryse Borg speaks to a number of movers and shakers in various spheres, such as banking, retail, real estate, events co-ordinators and more.

In this edition, Borg speaks to the President of the Malta Entertainment Industry And Arts Association (MEIA) Howard Keith Debono who explained that recent statistics released by Standard and Poor’s have identified the arts industry as one of the sectors that was most hit by the current economic crisis.

MEIA was given birth almost two months ago. During this period, the executive members of this association worked around the clock to meet with all stakeholders in the industry. After this process, it spearheaded a campaign that saw the recommendation of specific guidelines that safe guarded the interest of the people in the said industry as well as the general wellbeing of our society. Unfortunately, the implementation of such measures came late, says Keith.

MEIA proposed a set of 10 points that would help the industry:

  1. The proposal that would see the industry be listed under Annex A. MEIA also proposed that the wage supplement issued by the Maltese Government should be extended until this sector is fully operational.
  2. The proposal that sees a ‘cancellation subsidy’.
  3. The proposal that sees the investment in entertainment venues in order to be ready for re-opening when the time is right.
  4. The proposal that sees the implementation of a guarantee/facility that is aimed to incentivise the private sector to start planning events for the coming months, keeping their minds at rest should a Covid-19/pandemic related cancellation happen.
  5. The proposal that sees the digitalisation of the industry.
  6. The proposal that sees the financing of new projects from professional individuals and entities.
  7. The proposal that sees a fund that would enable the buying of arts.
  8. The proposal that sees the reduction of taxes for companies that want to invest in our industry.
  9. The proposal that sees the reduction of tax rates for artists and musicians.
  10. The proposal that sees the birth of a scheme that injects funds directly into the cultural sector.

“Last but not least, the third and final proposal highlights the fact that we cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ direction but a holistic approach,” Debono said.

During the press conference MEIA’s Vice-President Toni Attard stated that the situation needs urgent direction. In light of this, MEIA is also proposing the following four points:

  1. The necessary help is given to all stake-holders and people in the industry.
  2. The implementation of strategies that reflect the current needs of different sectors in our industry.
  3. The creation of incentives that aims at the creation of a long term plan.
  4. The promotion of local talent.

Addressing the press conference, The Malta Chamber President Perit David Xuereb said that the creative sector was integral to the design of a new economy for a modern Malta. He stated that the re-engineering of business models which will need to take place in the near future to guarantee a sustainable and resilient economy require the talent of the creative sector to be at its core.

The MEIA protocol for COVID-19 Mitigation Measures in Visual and Performing Arts Education may be found here.

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Photo Credits: Albert Camilleri