Norway would offer companies at least 100 billion kroner (US$9.7 billion) in funding in the form of guarantees for loans and bond issues to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Norwegian government said on Sunday.
“The government will do what’s needed and spend the necessary funds to secure the Norwegian economy and support Norwegian businesses, big and small,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.
The country on Thursday invoked emergency powers to close a wide range of public and private institutions, including schools and restaurants, in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The business support package was divided into loan guarantees of 50 billion kroner to small and medium-sized companies seeking bank loans, and the same amount in the form of government guarantees to large firms issuing corporate bonds.
In addition, payments of payroll taxes will be postponed, the government said.
Further measures for industries that have been particularly hard hit will also be presented at a later time, Norwegian Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner said.
Norway’s King Harald said in a televised speech on Sunday that the circumstances were “unreal, strange, and scary for everyone.”
“We don’t feel at home in our daily lives, or the world around us. And still we are only at the start of something that we don’t fully know the consequences of,” Harald said.
The government on Friday announced that it would pay a greater part of the bill for companies seeking to make temporary layoffs, while the Norwegian central bank slashed interest rates and lined up emergency funds for banks.
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