Small businesses that need to be bailed out amid the COVID-19 pandemic would be eligible for a tax-free loan of NT$500,000 (US$16,600), and the central bank would start accepting applications as soon as next week, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said yesterday.
As small businesses are exempt from issuing receipts, they would be able to secure the loan after undergoing a simple credit history check, without having to provide a financial statement, Koo told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.
After passing the review, the loan would be disbursed within three days, he said.
Money for the loans would come from the NT$200 billion central bank fund for loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the pandemic, he said.
The bank would propose an amendment to rules governing loans to SMEs, which would be forwarded to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) for review, Koo said. adding that the loans are expected to benefit about 500,000 small businesses.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Labor Lin Ming-yu (林明裕) yesterday unveiled easier regulations for workers applying for low-interest loans.
Previously, workers must have joined the Labor Insurance Fund to qualify for a NT$100,000 loan.
The new rule only requires that workers provide proof of employment, he said.
The government would pay the interest for the first year and guarantee up to 95 percent of the loan; the loan repayment period is set at three years, with an annual interest rate of 1.845 percent in the second and third year, he said.
The ministry would announce the rules for applying on Monday and start accepting applications on April 27 at the earliest, he said.
As for workers who do not fall under any of the categories eligible for subsidies — such as workers in hostess bars, nightclubs, karaoke bars and saunas — but whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Welfare would issue a subsidy of NT$10,000 to NT$30,000 per person, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.
However, as the bailout package was designed to aid local workers, foreign workers would not be eligible for the subsidies, he said.
Meanwhile, foreigners who own businesses and employ Taiwanese workers can apply for varying wage subsidies depending on the field they are in, he said.
The bailout policies announced so far would cover about 3 million Taiwanese, including low and middle-income earners; owners of companies whose revenue has been reduced by half; companies and individuals in the art and cultural sector; drivers; and self-employed people, Su said.
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