Large firms call for quick start of their aid programmes

Large companies hit by the coronavirus need aid programmes designed for them to start as quickly as possible, and it is also key that applications are processed fast, the Czech Confederation of Industry said.

The Industry and Trade Ministry has so far introduced state guaranteed loan programmes only for sole traders and small and medium-sized businesses. However, the COVID plus programme for big export companies and the COVID III programme for companies with up to 500 employees are supposed to start soon. COVID plus will be run in cooperation with export guarantee and insurance corporation EGAP. Companies will be able to apply for guarantees worth up to Kc2bn, Lukas Martin from the Confederation of Industry said.

A total of Kc150bn will be allocated for the COVID III programme, which means guarantee and development bank CMZRB will provide guarantees for commercial bank loans worth up to Kc500bn and support about 150,000 sole traders and companies employing up to 500 people, CMZRB spokeswoman Marie Lafantova said. Large companies are disadvantaged compared to smaller ones in terms of state aid, peer-to-peer investment platform Bondster head Jana Muckova said, adding that the government is pragmatic but unsystematic.

Companies may have the option to postpone social insurance payments for the May-July period and provide them by September 20 at a reduced fine, which the government may approve in a week, Labour Minister Jana Malacova said after Monday's government meeting.The deferral will help but it is not a long-term solution to current problems and exemption would be more beneficial, according to a CTK poll of experts and companies. They would appreciate more reliefs regarding health insurance and rents. Big construction companies and developers will not use the option to put off social insurance payments, considering the proposal useless, a CTK poll revealed.
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