Government to offer preferential loans to workers affected by COVID-19

04/07/2020 10:34 PM
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Taipei, April 7 (CNA) The Cabinet announced Tuesday that it will soon offer preferential short-term loans to workers who have suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

At a press conference, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said low-interest loans of up to NT$100,000 (US$3,293) will be extended to a maximum of 500,000 applicants.

The loans will be repayable over a three-year period, with the first year being interest free and the rate on the second and third years set at 1.845 percent, Hsu said.

More details of the preferential loan will be announced within two weeks after the Legislative Yuan passes a NT$150 billion (US$5billion) special budget put forth by the Cabinet as part of a COVID-19 relief package, she said.

As the pandemic continues to impact economies across the world, the Taiwan government has been laying out a series of measures to assist businesses and individuals around the country.

At Tuesday's press event, Hsu said that under the NT$150 billion relief package announced last week by the government, NT$30 billion will be allocated for subsidies to 1.33 million self-employed people who usually make less than NT$24,000 a month. They will receive NT$10,000 per month for three months to help them weather the crisis, she said.

Among the 1.33 million self-employed people in that income bracket, 119,327 work in the accommodation sector, 70,396 in retail businesses, 106,599 in the warehousing and transportation storage business, and 35,433 in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which are all sectors hard hit by the pandemic, according to government data.

In anticipation of mass unemployment in industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet will also ask government units to come up with 70,000 short-term part-time jobs for people in need, which will also be funded under the NT$150 billion relief package, Hsu said.

Those jobs will last up to up six months at a monthly pay of NT$23,800, she said.

In addition, the labor ministry will offer a monthly subsidy of NT$12,000 for up to a year to companies that hire first time jobseekers, which is expected to help the 60,000 new graduates who are expected to enter the job market this year, Hsu said.

(By Ku Chuan, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Joseph Yeh)

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