Companies will have more time to request and return ICO credits

The new aid plan for SMEs and the self-employed announced last Friday by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will be launched next week. The Council of Ministers to be held next Tuesday will approve bonuses and extensions of the grace periods and amortization of the credits granted by the ICO to help companies cope with the second wave of the coronavirus. This was advanced today by the Third Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, during the closing of a ceremony in Barcelona.

It is thus intended to guarantee this liquidity and prevent companies that are “perfectly viable” from being forced to close in a hasty way due to solvency problems, as they cannot return these loans, due to the temporary decline in their activity, as Calviño explained. This is one of the requests that the employers had been making for weeks, which warned the Executive that the ERTEs do not work if there are no more aid and demanded new measures.

The economic head of the Government stressed that collaboration with the financial sector has allowed the agile deployment of this network of guarantees, which has been essential, she said, to protect the liquidity of the economy and the productive fabric of the country.

The extension of the lack of credits has been agreed together with the European Commission and the banking entities, and the sectors hardest hit by the second wave of the pandemic, such as hotels and restaurants, will have special attention, as specified by the minister. Currently, the ICO loans – granted by entities and guaranteed by the Government – to maintain liquidity in the worst moments of the pandemic have a 12-month gap and it remains to be determined exactly how much it will be extended and if it will be for all sectors.

Until last November 11, 876,000 operations had been signed, 98% of them with SMEs and the self-employed, for a guaranteed amount of 81,787 million euros. These measures have made it possible to mobilize financing for more than 107.6 billion euros, said Calviño, who boasted that the Spanish guarantee program is the one that has the greatest weight over the GDP of Europeans.

The minister acknowledged that it has not been easy to carry out this extension because it should have the support of the EC since it involves public aid and does not conflict with the banks’ “judicial framework”. “We wanted to act knowing that a problem was not being generated in another area,” Calviño explained about financial institutions -which are the ones affected by the extension-, and stressed that the coronavirus crisis has not led to a financial crisis and how pernicious it would be for the economy.

New plan for the hospitality industry

But this will not be the only measure deployed by the Executive to face the second wave of the pandemic, since it is working, “in a coordinated manner with the CC AA and local corporations”, also on a plan to support the commerce sector and restoration, two of the most directly affected by the pandemic, as Minister Reyes Maroto had already advanced and confirmed Calviño.

In this sense, the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, who also participated in the conference, explained that the new measures that the Executive plans to promote as of next week are aimed at “saving the Christmas campaign as far as possible. possible”. These additional measures will respond to a “choral action” of different ministerial departments, also with municipalities and autonomous communities, and will be aimed at generating an “immediate cost mitigation impact”.

«Next week we will have the first news and it will be the first to arrive. In the coming weeks, measures will be approved especially aimed at SMEs and the self-employed, and those vulnerable sectors, “promised the Secretary of State.


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