Korean pres orders $38.7 bn worth aid package for SMEs and merchants

2020.03.19 15:53:23

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in speaks at emergency economic council meeting on Mar. 19, 2020. [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in speaks at emergency economic council meeting on Mar. 19, 2020. [Photo by Yonhap]

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday gave an executive order on a 50 trillion won ($38.7 billion) worth relief package to help small- and mid-sized companies, merchants and self-employed people who have been hit hard by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

During the first emergency economic meeting held at the presidential office Chung Wa Dae, he said it is a support package on an unprecedented scale aimed at stabilizing the public livelihood.

“The government, central bank and whole financial sector mobilized every possible means to provide enough liquidity to SMEs, small merchants and the self-employed bearing the biggest brunt of the outbreak,” he said, adding the government could expand the size of the aid package depending on the development of the situation.

The measures include a 12 trillion won worth emergency support to small business owners who will be able to take out loans at a low interest rate of 1.5 percent at any financial institutions and commercial banks across the nation.

The government will also carry out a loan guarantee program worth 5.5 trillion won for SMEs and small-scale merchants.

In order to reduce the debt repayment burden, every financial institution will implement a debt rollover program for small business owners. Non-banking sector including savings banks, insurers, the Korean Confederation of Credit Cooperatives (KFCC) and credit card companies for the first time joined the program, Moon said.

Small business owners with annual revenue of less than 100 million won will be able to take out a loan of up to 50 million won based on the government guarantee program worth 3 trillion won.

He urged close cooperation and seamless work of all related authorities and financial institutions to ensure quick and timely support for those who desperately need the financial aid. He also added that the government will continue to come up with measures for people who have lost their income or jobs because of the virus outbreak.

By Choi Mira

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