25 - March / 2020

The Government approves the Decree on low interest loans for companies and self-employed affected by the COVID-19

The Minister and Governent Spokeperson, Eric Jover, has presented the Decree of approval consisting on a program for companies and businesses due to the health emergency caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The Decree implements two types of soft loans granted by banks to the economic fabric and guaranteed by the Government. The first, of 60 million euros, is intended to cover the operating costs of companies and the self-employed. The second, of 70 million euros, is designed to refinance the credit quotas of these two groups.
 
The text stipulates that companies that have been affected by the health emergency and that have caused them cash-flow problems or difficulties in meeting their operating costs and regular payments are eligible. In this regard, the government spokesman stressed that "only companies that have not made any staff redundancies since 14 March can apply, with the exception of those that have been made in a justified manner".
 
Jover also referred to the interest rate of loans applied by financial institutions, which will be 0.25% in the case of credits for operating costs, and 0.10% to be used to refinance loans. In both cases, the Government will assume the interest; thus, the interest rate for companies and self-employed is 0%.
 
According to Minister Jover, the loans will be authorised by a Technical Commission, which will analyse the applications. The commission is composed by the Secretary of State for International Financial Affairs, Marc Ballestà, the Secretary of State for Economic Diversification and Innovation, Marc Galabert, and the Secretary of State for the Economy, Èric Bartolomé. The amount requested by applicants must correspond to a maximum of three months' activity. The soft loans have a duration of 12 months, renewable for periods of six months.
 
The Minister also referred to another decree adopted today. In this case it contains an express prohibition for drugstores to advertise or encourage the sale of their products, as well as to advertise and promote themselves. It also regulates for the food sector to open during their first hour exclusively for the most vulnerable groups. Until now, this was a recommendation. It also regulates that the tasks of preparing the purchases to be delivered at home must be done outside the hours of opening to avoid crowds.
 
The Labor department provides personalised monitoring of registered dismissed personnel
 
Minister Eric Jover also highlighted that the Labor Department is continuously and exhaustively monitoring the different people who register on the form as fired because of COVID-19. The latest data indicates that 124 people have registered, 56 of whom are from the hotel sector. In this sense, the Minister spokesperson assured the department is calling each registered person to find out the reasons for the dismissal and whether these have been carried out correctly.
 
With regards to the registry opened to help seasonal workers who wish to return to their countries of origin, the Minister Spokesperson said 1,508 workers have been registered. Jover indicated that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is working intensively to facilitate people to returning to their countries of origin.

Text and photo: Govern d’Andorra