The Bulgarian government launched a campaign aimed at supporting the business in the country in times of the pandemic in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy which has allotted BGN 400m in order to mitigate the hard consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. This transpired from the report of the Economy Minister Lachezar Borisov presented at the today’s cabinet sitting. Before PM Boyko Borissov and other cabinet members Minister Borisov presented the current information concerning the aid provided to companies and physical persons under the present-day critical conditions caused by Coronavirus epidemic. The anti-crisis measures taken under the “Innovations and Competiveness” operational program (OPIC) 2014-2020 worth of BGN 200 million in gratuitous funds.
Parallel with that, over BGN 210 million are available to businesses in the form of loans under two guarantee programs of the Bulgarian Development Bank. “The most important thing is that the money reaches the small- and medium-sized businesses quickly,” Premier Borissov was adamant.
Minister of Economy Lachezar Borisov reported that under the procedure funded by OPIC for the gratuitous funds for micro-companies over BGN 173 million have been paid. “I ordered that the companies which failed to get financing after the first assessment should be assessed again so that the money could reach them as well,” the Minister underscored adding that this way the aid funds amounting to a total of BGN 52 million will be absorbed.
The Economy Minister also noted that another procedure is underway for the support of medium-sized enterprises as the companies approved for getting support will be made public within the coming days. BGN 200 million will reach the medium-sized businesses under this procedure. “We’re seeking options for stepping-up the implementation of two next programs which are to be launched soon,” the Minister said further.
The total worth of these two programs is BGN 150 million and they are also financed with the gratuitous OPIC funds. One is for ensuring the liquidity of the so-called “big small companies” with a turnover of over BGN 500,000 while the second is meant to adapt the activity of small and medium-sized enterprises to the economic environment during the pandemic.
“We have accelerated to the maximum the speed of money flows on their way to the Bulgarian companies from the Bulgarian Development Bank.,” the Economy Minister emphasized. Under the two guarantee programs of the Bank loans worth over BGN 213 million have been already requested. Under the first program, which is meant for businesses’ support, a total of 929 companies have been approved for a loan while the Bank’s credit limit was increased from BGN 300,000 to BGN 1 million.
We are expecting the approval by the European Commission any day now, which will enable us to extend the program and include the big enterprises in it as well. Under the second program, that for the physical persons, over 22,000 people have received support.
As regards the investments, the Minister reported that starting from the beginning of 2020 a total of 25 projects have been certified in compliance with the Investment Promotion Act and the planned investment volume runs at about BGN 750 million and envisions opening of over 3,600 new jobs. Futher on, Minister Lachezar Borisov said informed about a new investment in Sofia worth BGN 23 million for a global giant which supplies the whole world with its products. “The investment is in technology and has a social effect – the plant employs over 570 workers and the working environment is very good. High hygiene standards are maintained which is very important during the pandemic,” Minister Borisov said.
In conclusion, he added that currently work is underway on two other investment projects – one of them is worth BGN 80 million and is at its initial stage of development.
Source: Sofia Morning News