FinMin: Bailout measures still being fine-tuned

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17.03.2020.

Zagreb, 260220.
Trg svetog Marka ,Banski dvori.
Premijer Andrej Plenkovic predsjedao je 4.sjednicom Nacionalnog Vijeca za uvodjenje eura kao sluzbene valute u RH.
Na fotografiji: Zdravko Maric, Andrej Plenkovic. Foto: Damjan Tadic / CROPIX
Damjan Tadic / CROPIX

Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković

Measures to support the economy and citizens are being hammered out and tomorrow they should be put to the government, after which the necessary bills will be sent to parliament for discussion and adoption so that they can go into force by the end of the week, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Monday.

Maric hopes that by the end of the week the necessary bills will be adopted and published in the Official Gazette so that they can be enacted as soon as possible to help the economy and citizens hit by the crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Some of the economic measures Maric mentioned include those designed to ensure the liquidity of companies and citizens, such as deferring loan payments, granting new loans to ensure liquidity and working capital, and possible rescheduling of dues.

- The criteria are expected to be as simple and comprehensible as possible. We are targeting those who have been affected by coronavirus. Some are already documenting the effects while others haven't felt the impact yet but we all know that they will, so we will look at whether they were blocked, whether they regularly settled their liabilities last year or not - said Maric, adding that the current state of income would be taken into account as would projections for the coming period.

At the moment there has not been any drop in budget revenue because the current situation is a reflection of the state at the end of February, when the virus had just broken out, he said.

Aladrovic: Measures geared to preserving jobs

Minister of Labour and Pension System Josip Aladrovic said that measures from his ministry will be designed to preserve jobs.

An outflow of labour has not been noticed yet but it can be expected and it is necessary to prepare for that situation, particularly in those sectors that are exposed the most, he said.

Aladrovic announced direct measures that would be processed very quickly and applied next week already.

The state needs to bear some of the cost of preserving jobs and stimulating employers not to lay off workers, he underscored.

The tourism sector is particularly affected, Aladrovic said and announced that measures of redefining the status of permanent seasonal workers would make it possible for five thousand people to continue to be available to employers in tourism in order to maintain the current level of employment.

Asked whether taxes and contributions on wages would be suspended for a certain period, Aladrovic said that deferment rather than suspension was being considered. "Deferment of the payment of certain contributions is certainly one of the options," he said.

Counting on European funds too

Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavic said that employers can count on European funds.

He announced that applications for compensation would be resolved more quickly for existing beneficiaries and that additional funds for new loans would be ensured.

- We are working so that we utilise European funds to the maximum so the economy doesn't stop - said Pavic.

Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic said that 29 support measures have been proposed for the tourism and transport sectors.

- As far as international rail traffic is concerned, cargo traffic is conducted, however, passenger traffic has been suspended. Airports have recorded a big fall even though they are seasonally orientated because most flights are during the summer, so that drop is not that dramatic. Naturally, Croatia Airlines and Cargo are operating with difficulties. The measures will be immediately applied - he added.

Asked what will happen with the CA national carrier which could soon be faced with huge problems, Butkovic said that the situation is still not that alarming.

- We had some interventions, a solution for all airlines will be found at the EU level and we see an opportunity there to assist Croatia Airlines too - he said.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic announced that measures would be implemented to assist agriculture, forestry and fisheries.