In the coming days the Finance Ministry is set to announce the postponement of the start of the repayment of state loans known as the “Deposit to be Returned” that some 700,000 enterprises received during the lockdowns.
The ministry will also announce the extension of the program subsidizing the fixed expenditure of 31,000 enterprises which will be able to use their vouchers for paying off taxes and social security contributions next year too.
Sources say that delays in the monitoring of the businesses that received the Deposit to be Returned, regarding their adherence to terms and conditions such as not reducing staff numbers, have led the ministry to put off the payment of the first few tranches. The market is asking for a six-month delay.
European Union rules allow the government to postpone the start of repayment as well as to turn the cheap state loans into other forms of support, such as grants. The 8.3 billion euros of the loan program’s seven stages could become non-returnable in their entirety. The rules also allow the ministry to issue more such loans in 2022, although a government official said this was out of the question for now; he did say a postponement in the repayment by several months is possible, though.
Asked whether the government is considering not asking for any money back from the 700,000 recipients of the cheap state loans, the same official stopped short of confirming that, saying instead that the repayment deadline will be extended in the next few days.
According to the ministry’s intentions, an extension of three months will likely be granted soon: Therefore, instead of beneficiaries starting to repay their loans at end-January, they will have an end-April deadline for the first tranche.
The sum due amounts to €3.3 billion, as the rest of the loans will not have to be repaid. For recipients of loans from all phases, the repayment period amounts to 60 months. There is also the option of paying off the entire amount due in a lump sum by the end of this month with a 15% discount.