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N. Macedonia unveils 470 mln euro support package in response to COVID-19

N. Macedonia unveils 470 mln euro support package in response to COVID-19 SDSM/All rights reserved.

SKOPJE (North Macedonia), September 28 (SeeNews) - North Macedonia's prime minister Zoran Zaev said the government will implement a package of measures worth 470 million euro ($546 million) aimed at revitalising the economy by supporting businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The key measures in the latest economic support package, which is the fourth in a row since the COVID-19 outbreak, are focused on protecting jobs and providing support for the unemployed and socially vulnerable categories, Zaev told a news conference streamed on the government's YouTube channel on Sunday.

The new package includes wage subsidies for October, November and December for 83,000 employees in companies affected by the crisis.

Furthermore, some 5,726 single parents, 182,271 retirees, 85,108 unemployed, 520 artists and cultural workers, as well as all citizens over 64 years of age who do not receive a pension or social benefits will receive 6,000 denars ($113.4/97.5 euro) each.

The government is extending for additional three months the grace period for the interest-free loans provided earlier to mitigate the pandemic's effect on the economy. It will also provide through the Development Bank of North Macedonia new low interest loans worth a total of 100 million euro to local companies.

To support the tourism industry, the government will provide salary subsidies for October, November and December to over 150 registered tour guides and reimburse the tourist tax collected throughout the whole of 2019 to 4,740 hotels and overnight accommodation agencies. 

The government will also provide grants to tourism agencies, wedding venues and restaurants and playrooms. 

The government also announced a tax-free weekend to boost the economy. Citizens who buy local products and services from October 10 to October 12 will receive a tax refund within the following few days, the prime minister said.

North Macedonia's previous three support packages for people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic were worth a total of 550 million euro. 

($ = 0.8599 euro)