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More companies will be eligible for aid in Latvia

The emergency state has been in force nearly two weeks now, but the aid scheme has not yet been applied to businesses. The Ministry of Economics will offer changes to the government on Tuesday that downtime benefits could be received by a wider range of businesses, Latvian Radio reported November 24.

Minister of Economics Jānis Vitenbergs (“KPV LV”) stressed that, unlike in spring, there will be three aid funds available during this emergency: not only employee benefits, but also subsidized jobs for companies that are partly continuing work. Similarly, a subsidy for working capital will be available for those companies that are unable to continue or work only partially.

“We reached a political agreement, and colleagues also said that support should be broader, focused on our entire economy. All businesses that have a drop in turnover will be able to qualify and receive benefits.

Similarly, on the list of sectors that will be eligible for subsidized jobs and subsidies for working capital, we will have the opportunity to assess locally and also to grant support for new professions. It is also important that we be able to react quickly if there is a need. I hope this will be confirmed by the Cabinet, and then there will be clarity. At the beginning of December, when companies submit a VAT statement, they will also be able to add an application. And on the way, we will be actively communicating so that businesses and people can have clarity,” the Minister said.

Vitenbergs hopes that companies will be able to receive support in early December. Overall, €67 million is earmarked for support mechanisms. Vitenbergs predicts that this amount of funding should be sufficient.

In parallel, the Ministry is working on long-term support mechanisms.

“Requalifiction. A variety of programs. We are also developing support mechanisms in the Ministry that could change the current regulation for supermarkets, because we see that COVID-19 will not go anywhere in the near future.

We are also planning work to help beauty salons and develop safety guidelines so they can continue to work. I'm pretty sure nothing will end within a month,” the minister said.

Asked whether the clarification is not coming too late, Vitenbergs said that work is progressing smoothly. The Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  Jānis Endziņš, thinks differently. He said it was predictable that the virus would prevail.

“At the moment, we are running to the shop to buy a fire extinguisher only after the fire has started,”  Jānis Endziņš commented on  the situation. In his opinion, summer was long enough to prepare for such situations.

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