Government plan for the support of businesses and workers

The government will be bringing legislation within the coming week that extends the period for the sale of heating oil in order to help offset the reduced turnover for fuel sellers, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras revealed on Open TV. He noted that the pressures on the sector will start to abate within the next couple of weeks, however, in line with central planning by the government.

He also explained that the criteria in order for businesses to qualify for the second round of the “returnable advance” in May will be a significant drop in their April turnover. Those businesses that saw their turnover rise in March, he added, will be excluded from the first round based on their figures and a formula to be included in a Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD).

On support for workers, Staikouras said the 800-euro monthly benefit will continue to be given to the employees whose work contract is still suspended but not in the cases where the suspension is ended, while noting that many employers are expected to re-open and take at least some of their staff back as measures ease. He pointed out that the suspension of contracts had already been ended for 20,000 employees by businesses that want to be ready to open, based on the government’s decisions.

The number that are able to work, however, will depend on the state’s decisions on how many workers can occupy a space for health reasons, he added, “in which case the state must support the workers that stay home.”

On the protection of primary residences from foreclosure, which ends on April 30, Staikouras indicated that the government was examining various alternatives regarding this issue and will make announcements “when we are ready”.

Asked to comment on the credit rating agency reports that have downgraded Greece’s outlook, he noted that this was inevitable given the uncertainties surrounding the health crisis, while pointing out that they also contained many positive assessments of the Greek economy and the country’s handling of the pandemic. He forecast that the recession in Greece will be range within the 5-10 pct forecast by the European Commission for the EU.