Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: MPs to meet over outstanding emergency aid bills

One of the bills relate to suspension of loan repayments, including mortgages, for nine months

The House finance committee will meet at 5pm on Saturday to discuss two outstanding bills as part of a raft of measures to aid the economy in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The bills, designed to support businesses and households, are set to be voted on by the plenum in an emergency session on Sunday.

The committee considered the two bills in its teleconference session on Friday, but issues for further discussion arose, so they were not brought to the plenary later that day as part of the package that was voted in.

Two bills relate to a suspension of loan repayments for nine months and a €2bn fiscal stimulus. The repayment suspension covers businesses, self-employed persons and individuals who had been consistent with their debt payments to date.

Beyond banks, the suspension includes loan management companies, insurance companies and the land development organisation.

The second scheme involves the provision of low-interest loans worth €1.750bn to businesses and self-employed so that they can manage the fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

An additional €250m will be used to subsidise the interest rate. It also applies to individuals, self-employed and businesses.

Parliament on Friday approved a raft of bills aimed at shoring up the economy.

In a closed-door session attended by 21 out of 56 MPs, the plenum summarily passed 10 bills in one go after they had been discussed by the House finance committee through teleconferencing.

Twenty MPs voted in favour while Elam chairman Christos Christou voted against the bills.

The bills include a supplementary budget of around €370m aimed at supporting workers, vulnerable groups and businesses affected by the crisis.

Included are €182m allocated for a scheme to subsidise the wages of some 220,000 private sector workers if businesses fully or partially suspend their operations.

There are also funds to subsidise leave for parents who have to take care of their children, for students who remain abroad, and €100m for the health sector.

The government package is worth around €813m or 3.8 per cent of GDP.

Parliament also approved tax breaks for businesses.

It also approved a ban on evictions until May 31, as well as €150 spot fines for people flouting the health minister’s quarantine orders.


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