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Govt announces EUR 2bn stimulus package for economy

Ljubljana, 24 March - The government has prepared a package of economic stimulus measures worth roughly EUR 2 billion to keep society running during the coronavirus crisis. The measures include loan guarantees for companies, purchase of claims to companies, co-financing of social contributions, temporary basic income for the self-employed and allowances for pensioners.

The Janez Janša government poses for a group photo after being endorsed by the National Assembly.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Presenting the outlines of the "coronapackage" on Tuesday, Prime minister Janez Janša said the measures were designed to protect jobs and keep society in general functioning through the crisis.

They are valued at roughly EUR 2 billion, the biggest stimulus ever in Slovenian history, according to Matej Lahovnik, the economist who heads a special task force of economists and business executives that has advised the government on the measures.

The principal measure helping companies will be a broad expansion of support for companies that have to temporarily lay off workers.

While part-financing had been provided as part of the first package of measures, financing will now be expanded: the state will fully cover up to two months of social contributions.

Sick pay of all those who fall ill during the crisis will be covered by the public health insurance. Unemployment benefits will automatically kick in on the first day of unemployment.

A guarantee scheme will be put in place facilitating the purchase of claims to companies with the state providing the funding. Corporate income tax payments will be suspended.

The self-employed will get a waiver of contributions and a monthly basic income of 70% of minimum pay. To be eligible, all they will have to do is to submit statements that their business has been affected by the crisis.

Pensioners who receive the lowest pensions will get special allowances to help them better cope, according to Janša.

There will also be some savings measures, including a 30% pay cut for holders of public office and a 30% cut in fees for members of supervisory boards in state-owned companies.

The measures will be in place until 31 May but may be extended if necessary, according to Janša.

Lahovnik said follow-up measures were already under discussion as well and would be presented "in a few weeks".

© STA, 2020