The Government΄s new economic measures for the coronavirus crisis

ATHENS. A new plan to stimulate the Greek economy in April and tackle the consequences of coronavirus was announced today.

March / 2020

The announcement was made by the Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Minister for Development Adonis Giorgiades and Employment Minister Yiannis Vroutsis.

Christos Staikouras announced the following:

A. Employees

1. More people will receive the 800 Euro benefit. In total 1.7m will be entitled to receive it - 81% of employees in the private sector.

2. For those that are temporarily suspended from work the sum will be tax-exempt, exempt from seizure and will not be held against debts.

3. The insurance contributions of these employees will be covered for 45 days. Payment of established tax debts can be suspended for four months or if they are paid on time, a 25% discount is available. These measures cover those in permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time employment.

B. Businesses

The measures to safeguard jobs are being extended to a larger number of businesses. Approximately 800,000 businesses are covered - 76% of legal persons.

There a very few exceptions to these benefits as the measures cover 86% of the Business Operations Register.

For 99% of the eligible businesses the provisions include the following:

- suspension of VAT payments and established tax debts for April.
- 25% discount if they pay the debts on time.
- if VAT payments for April are paid on time, 25% of the amount is deducted from any future tax debts.

It is stressed that for businesses to be eligible for these benefits, the current number of employees must be maintained.

C. Self-employed

The new plan also covers 700,000 self-employed and small business owners - approximately 75% of the total. The measures include the return of deposits in order to support small and medium-sized businesses, 1 billion Euros for the immediate support of businesses - which is refundable to the state in part or in full. The grant is given directly through TaxisNet.

Businesses who wish to be included in this measure must register on the special AADE platform from 2 to 10 April. The basic aim of this measure is to support businesses in order to support employment. Businesses are forbidden to lay off staff from today.

- The full Easter bonus will be paid. It will be paid by all businesses to all employees and those that are not included in the package of measures must pay it by the date stated in law. The proportion of the bonus corresponding to employees' suspension from work will be paid by the state.

- 108,000 employees at hospitals, health centres, the ambulance service, the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) and Civil Protection will receive an extra bonus. "We estimate that this will be paid by 10 April."

- Banks will make repayments of exisiting debts easier.

- There will be measures for the primary sector. An initial sum of 150m Euros is being made available by the Finance Ministry to the Ministry of Agriculture for this purpose. Community resources will be utilised with maximum flexibility by the Ministry of Agriculture.

- There will be a supplementary state budget with an increase in the funds credited to the Finance Ministry's special account with 5 billion Euros to cover the needs for the coronavirus crisis. The cost of the suspension of tax declarations is over 2.1b Euros, covering insurance contributions is 1.6b Euros and the extra financial benefits for March and April come to 1.4b Euros. These expenses along with extra expenses for health services, the deposits, the Easter bonus and the financial support for businesses comes to 6.8 billion Euros - 3% of GDP, which is a much greater proportion than the European average. These costs do not include support for the production network via ESPA>

"The short-term economy has been hit significantly but this is a temporary situation as the cause is not economic," concluded Mr. Staikouras.