ECONOMY

Banks will disburse investment subsidies

Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced yesterday he will expedite disbursements of the EU-subsidized Third Community Support Framework to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through banks. A total of 210 million euros is to be allocated within the context of the third round of support for SMEs. Banks will assess and approve investment plans and, without any intervention by the state, will allocate 138.5 million euros to manufacturing and 71.5 million euros to the tourism sector. A key priority for the government, said Alogoskoufis, is to support SMEs through subsidies, the investment incentives law as well as tax breaks. Applications for inclusion in the subsidy program must be filed between March 15 and June 15. SMEs employing up to 50 people with an annual turnover of between 10,000 and 10 million euros will be eligible. The subsidy ranges between 43 and 50 percent, the minimum share of own participation is 25 percent and investment projects can be up to 350,000 euros. The contract with the ministry provides for banks to receive 1,200 euros per application, 500 euros for each project approved and another 3 percent on the cost of investment of every project realized.