NEWS

More measures for businesses unveiled

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Business, Coronavirus

As the Greek economy struggles to get back on the road to recovery in tandem with the gradual lifting of the lockdown starting on Monday, the government has announced an array of measures, including a one-month extension of the 40 percent discount on commercial and residential properties rented by parties affected by the pandemic and loans to 90,000 businesses to the tune of 1 billion euros.

Regarding the rent reductions, they will also apply for companies that start operating again on Monday and gradually over the month, as they will also be considered affected parties.

Overall, the measure concerns more than 80 percent of rented properties in the country, whether they are residential or commercial (e.g. offices, shops, hotels, warehouses etc).

At the same time, it is considered almost certain that the rent reduction will be extended beyond May, at least for those businesses that do not open at all this month, such as shopping malls and year-round hotels, which are scheduled to reopen in early June.

However, up until now no move has been announced by the government to mitigate the impact of the measure on property owners – such as a tax exemption for the months that rent reductions or a reduction of the ENFIA property taxes are in effect.

As a result there is growing angst among property owners who note that they are being forced to finance the government’s relief measures out of their own pockets.

“By no means are we saying that the reduction of rent is not correct or necessary in the current situation. However, we are reacting to the fact that it is being financed exclusively with our own funds, without any support from the state,” said Stratos Paradias, the president of the federation of property owners (POMIDA), in comments to Kathimerini.

According to Paradias, any favorable regulations that came into force in recent weeks for property owners are a “drop in the ocean.”

Regarding the state loan to some 90,000 businesses totaling 1 billion euros, the government announced Thursday that they will be made under particularly favorable terms with an interest rate of below 1 percent, and a grace period of 19 months before the first installment is paid.

Those selected as eligible for the loans by the government based on the reduction in their turnover will be informed next week by the online platform myBusinessSupport about the amount they will receive.

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