The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday unveiled details about subsidy programs for the service sector amid a downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Subsidies would be issued for payroll and overhead costs for businesses whose income has dropped by at least 50 percent, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.
Subsidies would be 40 percent of each employee’s monthly salary, but not more than NT$20,000 (US$664), and would be paid from this month to June, Shen said.
Overhead subsidies for firms would be NT$10,000 per employee, he said.
Retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, warehouses, karaoke bars, laundromats, photography studios, bridal shops, barbers and beauty parlors are among the firms that can apply for the funds, he said.
To apply, an employer must not have laid off or furloughed any workers, or cut their salaries by more than 20 percent, he said.
The ministry also announced a plan to dispatch 250 financial consultants to the nation’s 221 shopping districts and 401 night markets to assist vendors to apply for loans to mitigate negative economic effects amid the pandemic.
As small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) need proof that their income has been reduced by at least 15 percent to secure special government loans, night market vendors and small stores exempted from providing receipts might find it dfficult to apply, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.
To assist small businesses to secure loans, the ministry would send financial consultants to understand their situations and help prove that their operations have been affected, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration Director-General Ho Chin-tsang (何晉滄) said.
The consultants would include professionals from the eight major state-run banks, the Certified Public Accountant Associations of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and retired bank employees, Ho said.
The SME agency helped a business with 16 employees and 11 stalls in Taipei secure a loan of NT$5 million, he said.
Consultants determined from its invoices and balance sheets that its operations had suffered due to the pandemic, he said.
From March 16 to Thursday, 921 SMEs, medical facilities, transportation firms, hotels, travel agencies, recreational facilities, performance venues and movie theaters had secured a combined NT$10.1 billion in special loans, Kung said.
Authorities were still reviewing applications from another 514 establishments for a combined NT$3.94 billion in loans, he said.
As loans for an SME are capped at NT$20 million, state-owned banks have offered larger loans to businesses that need more than government agencies can give them, Kung said.
As of Thursday, state-owned banks have loaned a combined NT$25.29 billion to 1,380 businesses and NT$8.09 billion to 903 individuals, he said.
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