Support measures to be extended to May

Support measures to be extended to May

The government has another package of business support measures ready for May, top officials at the Finance Ministry assure, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep the economy locked down, which will inevitably lead to the use of cash reserves.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told Skai TV on Saturday that the government is planning to extend its safety net for the economy into May, and possibly to even expand the measures.

“Our planning is for another repetition of the measures, possibly expanded depending on the conditions we face in the next month,” he said.

The minister added that last week Greece submitted three programs for entrepreneurship to the European Union for approval – which was secured – concerning the “Deposit To Be Returned,” the 2-billion-euro collateral fund for small and medium-sized enterprises, and a 1-billion-euro program for subsidizing performing loans. He added that Greece will potentially benefit from the EU decisions to the tune of 7-8 billion euros, although not all measures have been determined yet.

His deputy, Thodoros Skylakakis, said in an interview with Kathimerini’s Eirini Chrysolora that a second phase of the Deposit To Be Returned is due for companies, also seen at 1 billion euros. He spoke of multiple specialized assistance packages that will be announced soon, concerning sectors including transport and aviation, and added that the support will be complemented with the guarantee and liquidity boost measures the Development Ministry is preparing using the new European instruments.

Skylakakis noted the high cost of the packages, which he estimated at 14 billion euros up until May – not including the credit system guarantees – with tourism being the unknown factor as it could have enormous consequences in terms of both cash flow and state revenues. He also forecast a heavy blow to revenues and revealed that inevitably there will soon be the “broad use” of the country’s cash reserves.

He went on to promise more policies for restarting the economy once the Covid-19 threat subsides, as well as the government’s return to its plans for tax breaks and reductions in social security contributions. He further expressed optimism about a dynamic recovery next year.

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