ECONOMY

Fifth round of loans begins

fifth-round-of-loans-begins

The countdown has started for the fifth phase of the popular “Deposit To Be Returned” program – cheap state loans that thousands of enterprises and freelance professionals are relying on to cover their losses from the lockdown and the Christmas turnover they have missed out on.

In the next two or three days the myBusinessSupport platform is expected to open for applications, with sources saying it will stay open until January 15.

Applicants will have to produce proof that they have suffered a year-on-year reduction of at least 20% in their turnover over the period from September to December 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. Crucially, the funding for the fifth phase will be offset with any funds collected in the fourth phase concerning the lost turnover of the period from October to November. Consequently recipients of loans in the previous phase are set to have their fifth-phase takings reduced.

The disbursement of the fifth phase will not come immediately after the submission of applications, as was the case with the previous one, but will follow the same process as in the first three phases, with some checks taking place first. Consequently payments to corporations and freelancers are not expected before mid-January.

Just as in the fourth phase, only 50% of the loans to be issued this month will have to be returned within five years, with a low interest rate, and the minimum amount of support will be 1,000 euros.

Those receiving the funding this month will also undertake the obligation not to lay off any staff for five months – unlike in the previous phases, when this obligation was for the next four months. This way, the Finance Ministry is aiming to have participating enterprises see the coronavirus pandemic through with all their workers, in the hope that employers will be more optimistic in June and avoid making redundancies.

The budget for the fifth phase is expected to come to €1.5 billion, with ministry officials expecting to offer a sixth phase too.