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Government support aimed at mitigating economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic exceeds EUR 2 bn

BC, Riga:, 19.03.2020.Print version
Latvia's government support aimed at mitigating the economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic has exceeded EUR 2 bn, Finance Minister Janis Reirs (New Unity) told journalists Thursday, writes LETA.

According to the minister's estimates, the government support, which was initially planned at EUR 1 bn has now surpassed EUR 2 bn already. 

The proposal to support the businesses idled by the coronavirus outbreak by financing employees' wages will cost between EUR 60 mln and EUR 200 mln, if it is decided to expand the number of sectors eligible for the support.

Today, the government also approved the proposal to re-launch the guarantee program of Development Finance Institution Altum. These guarantees will be provided to any companies, including those unaffected by the Covid-19 crisis. EUR 750 will be made available in the Altum grant program and EUR 200 mln in a loan financing program. 

Reirs said that so far decisions have been taken on government support worth EUR 1.1 bn, but that another EUR 1 bn have been earmarked as various financial instruments. For instance, an agreement concluded with the European Investment Bank (EIB) allows Latvia to access EUR 400 mln to deal with consequences of the Covid-19 crisis. Also, EUR 600 mln are available from EU funds to help the hardest-hit sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Treasury has continued to borrow as well. This Wednesday, for instance, the Treasury raised EUR 50 mln by selling on the domestic market government bonds at a negative rate. 

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