COVID Fund grants K100 bln to over 3,300 businesses in 4 months

By Nyein Nyein

More than 3,300 enterprises have been granted over K100 billion from the Coronavirus Fund in the past four months, as per the data of a committee to remedy the economic impacts caused by the pandemic. The committee has been granting the loan to the business stricken by the pandemic from the initial fund, with K50 billion allocated from the country’s revolving fund and another K50 billion from the social welfare fund. The priority sectors are CMP garment business, hotel and tourism service and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The interest rate for a one-year period is only one per cent. Regarding the Fund, 85 businesspersons have been granted K5.696 billion in the first batch, while 113 enterprises were selected for K4.495 billion in the second batch, 111 enterprises in the third batch for K3.5466 billion, 417 in the fourth batch for K15.079 billion, 290 in the fifth batch for K8.7335 billion, 2,078 in the sixth batch for K49.116 billion and 307 in the seventh batch for K14.5564 billion.

The applicants approved by the committee will be screened in line with banking rules and procedures, and they are not eligible for the loan if they get sued by a bank. The remaining applications are being processed, the committee stated.

Last 4 July, the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry released a statement that the addition of K100 billion will be put into the fund to remedy the businesses hit hard by the pandemic. The fund will be provided to businesses three times, with K35 billion given out each in the first batch and the second batch and K30 billion in the third batch. The types of prioritized businesses, loan term and rules will be released soon. The funding will be allocated from K150 billion of the Union General Reserve Fund. And, K100 billion will be added into the second-time funding, while K50 billion will be transferred into the social welfare fund as the initial COVID fund was set up with it, the ministry stated. The committee was formed on 13 March and Union Minister U Thaung Tun for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations was appointed as the chairman of the committee. The committee is responsible for measures to address the negative impacts of the coronavirus crisis on trade and tourism sectors; short, medium and long term measures to respond to the coronavirus crisis, together with the private sector and related associations; creation of new jobs for those employees who have been laid off at the factories; conducting vocational education to the workers; and additional measures to explore new markets to buy raw materials for CMP garment businesses in the country instead of relying on the sole market-China. Additionally, the public and private sectors need to cooperate in setting up the supply chain on our sources, including weaving, knitting, dyeing, and sewing factories, the committee urges. Furthermore, as the long-term strategies, the committee will request Myanmar President office to give tax exemption and reliefs depending on the situations of the COVID-19 impacts on SMEs and to provide loans to the domestic businesses at a low-interest rate. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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