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Coronavirus: Tweaks to loan bill in bid to overcome Diko objections

The finance ministry is looking to make small changes to a bill concerning the provision of state-backed cheap lending in a bid to overcome party objections and get it approved by parliament.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the ministry was finalising the bill after examining the proposals submitted by the parties.

“Some very small changes have been made,” according to an anonymous source quoted by CNA. No more details were provided.

It is expected that the amended bill will be discussed by the House finance committee after Easter, possibly next Wednesday or Thursday.

Committee chairman and Diko MP Angelos Votsis had said that the matter would only be discussed if the bill was amended.

Parties have expressed concerns over the government’s plan to afford €2bn in state guarantees for cheap loans to support the economy.

Citing a mistrust of banks, which, under the plan, would sustain around 30 per cent of a potential loss, parties have called for strict supervision or bypassing the banks altogether.

Diko, which holds the key for the bill’s approval, wants safeguards included to prevent abuse of the scheme. The party does not want money to go to companies that have not paid their taxes or which own property they can use for borrowing.

The party said it must also be ensured that companies will not attempt to repay existing loans with state-backed borrowing.

Diko has said that it wants the auditor-general to have a role in the process.

 

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