Bulgaria preparing additional support for coronavirus-hit micro-enterprises

Bulgaria preparing additional support for coronavirus-hit micro-enterprises

Bulgaria's government is working on providing additional financial support to micro-enterprises with up to 20 employees in order to help them withstand the coronavirus crisis, deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev said.
This support programme will be worth no less than 200 million levs ($111.7 million/102.3 million euro), Donchev said in a video file published on the website of local private bTV station on Wednesday.
The procedure under which small enterprises can apply for state support and receive it is planned to be very simplified, provided they meet some requirements known in advance, the deputy prime minister noted.
A possible requirement for such companies will be to provide proof that they have recorded a 20% year-on-year drop in revenue since the start of the countrywide state of emergency imposed on March 13 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Donchev also said.
"We should not allow mass bankruptcies to happen," he added.
Earlier this week, the parliament adopted changes to Bulgaria's 2020 balanced budget that envisage a deficit equivalent to 2.9% of gross domestic product (GDP), or 3.5 billion levs, to meet spending needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The changes also include an increase in the maximum amount of new debt that the government is authorised to take on in 2020 to 10 billion levs from 2.2 billion levs.
However, the new debt ceiling does not mean that the country will borrow 10 billion levs, as this is just a framework, Donchev said in the video file, adding there is no guarantee that the proceeds of the debt will be spent in full.
As regards restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus, Donchev said that the government is ready to relax them or introduce tougher ones depending on how the situation unfolds. He added that the restrictions will be relaxed only after the peak in reported COVID-19 cases in the country, which is expected around the end of April.
As of Thursday, there are 611 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria, including 24 deaths related to the disease as well as 48 recoveries. Bulgaria will be in a state of emergency until May 13.

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