FINANCE

Extra boost of 700 mln euros

Gov’t prepares fast-track interventions for the battered sectors of food service and tourism

extra-boost-of-700-mln-euros

The government is about to give an extra boost to the tourism and food service sectors, which have taken a massive hit during the 13 months of the pandemic to date.

For food service, the government is preparing a 350-million-euro package with fast-track procedures. This is to help businesses in the sector face the huge problems created during the period they have remained closed, and for the procurement of the raw materials they need to get started again.

For that purpose the Development and Investment Ministry is to announce a detailed plan of support using European resources in the next few days. The funding will amount to a share of companies’ normal monthly turnover.

The announcements will concern the new funding tool for the coverage of a series of eligible costs, aimed at helping food service have the necessary cash flow to start working when restrictions are lifted.

A similar fund of €350 million, against with European financing, will go toward supporting the tourism sector in speedy procedures for tackling the problems from the lockdowns. However, the recording of the tourism industry’s needs has not yet started and according to a senior source it will be announced in late April or early May.

“Our aim is to support the enterprises of these two sectors so that they can restart their operation upon the opening of this year’s tourism season,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told Kathimerini in an interview.

In total over the next few days the government will announce interventions of about €3 billion, concerning both the new funding tool for food service and tourism, and the extension into April of the economy’s support measures, including the seventh phase of the cheap state loans program known as the “Deposit To Be Returned.”

However, according to a senior Finance Ministry source, the continuation of the support measures not only puts pressure on state coffers and enlarges the budget deficit; it also deals a blow to the country’s gross domestic product as the second quarter is supposed to be the economy’s turnaround point.