Azerbaijan reveals amount of financial assistance provided to SMEs amid COVID-19
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept.16
By Zeyni Jafarov – Trend:
Certain restrictions introduced in Azerbaijan due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the related decrease in business activity have influenced the activities of the private sector, the Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan told Trend.
“Representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), individual entrepreneurs and self-employed citizens found themselves in a difficult economic situation. However, from the first days of the special quarantine regime, the Azerbaijani government has prepared an extensive set of measures for them, including financial support, facilitating access to credit resources and subsidizing a bulk of interest on loans, reducing the tax burden, as well as deferring tax payments,” the ministry said.
“The programs implemented by the Ministry of Economy are based on mechanisms of broad and multidirectional support, which, to date, have already been used by more than 132,000 entrepreneurs. Support programs are carried out within funds allocated from the state budget. The state has allocated 295 million manats ($173.5 million) to help entrepreneurs, of which 215 million manats ($126.4 million) is for paying salaries to employees, 80 million manats ($47 million) is for financial support of individual and microentrepreneurs,” the ministry noted.
“Financial support is provided under two programs. The employee support program provides for the payment of salaries to employees under current employment contracts from April 1 to July 1, 2020 (funds were transferred to taxpayer bank accounts). Financial support for individual entrepreneurs is provided based on the return of a certain amount of taxes paid by them to the state budget for 2019,” said the ministry.
“Both programs consist of two stages. As part of the first stage of the financial support program, starting from April, 25,000 taxpayers received 98.5 million manats ($57.9 million) to pay salaries to 216,000 employees. In addition, 63.7 million manats ($37.4 million) was allocated to 107,223 individual entrepreneurs. Within the second stage of the financial support program, from August to September, 22,885 taxpayers were allocated 101.9 million manats ($59.9 million) to pay wages to 234,355 employees,” the ministry added.
“Moreover, 49,887 individual entrepreneurs received support from the state in the amount of 12.4 million manats ($7.3 million). Thus, so far, 93.7 percent of the funds allocated by the state under the program to support the salaries of employees have been transferred, and 95.2 percent of the funds allocated by the state under the program to support individual entrepreneurs,” noted the ministry.
The action plan to minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country's economy is aimed at improving the welfare and social protection of all segments of the population.
(1 USD = 1.7 AZN on Sept.16)