The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that a relief fund of NT$42.7 billion (US$1.54 billion) has been earmarked to help food and beverage, entertainment and other service industries that have been heavily affected by a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in Taiwan.
Businesses that suffer a revenue drop of more than 50 percent from last month to next month are eligible for a one-time NT$40,000 subsidy per employee, on the condition that owners do not reduce staff or stop operations, the ministry said.
To apply for the funding, established businesses have to submit documents showing their sales have dropped by more than half compared with a year earlier, while newly established businesses could use sales figures from last month to next month for comparison with those from March and April, the ministry said.
For businesses whose operations have been suspended because of the pandemic, such as karaokes and nightclubs, each employee is to receive a one-time subsidy of NT$30,000 from the Executive Yuan, and NT$10,000 from the labor insurance fund, it said.
“Our goal is to stop businesses from going bankrupt. If the businesses survive, employees can continue to have hope,” Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺) said, adding that the ministry would ensure the money goes directly to the accounts of employees.
All applications will be conducted online, starting from Monday next week to Aug. 31, and pledges of continued operations are a precondition for businesses to receive the funds, the ministry said.
More than 1 million employees are estimated to benefit from the new relief program, compared with the 300,000 who benefited in the previous program, a reflection of the severity of the current outbreak, it said.
The exhibition and convention business is to receive NT$220 million in subsidies, and exporters and insurers are to receive NT$130 million, while NT$210 million is to be set aside to improve the conditions at traditional and night markets, the ministry said.
As NT$19.3 billion has already been budgeted for relief for this wave of COVID-19 infections, it brings the total relief package to NT$62.5 billion, it said.
The ministry said that it is also helping businesses whose revenue has fallen by 15 percent to obtain bank loans.
“We will help negotiate with banks to help businesses obtain loans as large as NT$6 million, mostly to help with covering rent and personnel expenses,” Chen said.
The ministry will cover as much as 1.845 percent of the interest rate for one year, with a cap of NT$220,000, he said.
“We hope that by supporting businesses, we can support the public and get through this difficult period together,” he said.
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