Govt adopted second corona stimulus package worth over EUR 2bn, Janša says
Ljubljana, 21 April - The government has adopted a second stimulus package to help the country overcome the coronavirus crisis and made some needed changes to the first package, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced. He did not state the exact amount of funds available in the second package, referring, however, to over EUR 2 billion.
With this, the government built a comprehensive financial cushion to overcome the epidemic and provided for the liquidity of the economy, he said in a video posted on Twitter.
Referring to the first package, worth a total of EUR 3 billion, he said the government expanded the circle of beneficiaries by 300,000 from one million.
The Government Communication Office said after the government session that changes to the first package corrected unclarities and introduced additional solutions. Both bills will be fast-tracked through parliament.
The second package will help preserve production and development potential of the economy by providing state loan guarantees to companies and sole proprietors "up to a certain sum".
The package creates an additional potential lending source exceeding EUR 2 billion, said Janša. "Also during the epidemic we need to preserve healthy potentials of our economy, and through that, preserve jobs, and through that, all the vital elements of a welfare state."
He said the government also looked for internal reserves. "We already found one major thing. The expenses planned for the extravagant renovation of the Brdo Hotel, which the former government put at EUR 40 million. These will be divided by four," Janša said, referring to the state-owned hotel near the Brdo Conference Centre, one of the main venues of Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency next year.
The prime minister said that a third legislation package to mitigate the crisis would cut development-hindering red tape. The package is planned for the end of May, he said, adding that it would help an easier transition into normal life.
In terms of the epidemic, he said the country was at a turning point. Although it has managed to reign in the contagion, the virus remains among the population, he said. He hopes that the gradual easing of measures introduced this week will prove rational in about 10 to 14 days.
A second wave of easing can be expected after the May Day holidays, but only if this is deemed rational based on ongoing Covid-19 testing and a general sample survey, which has already been launched.
Restriction of movement to municipalities for the entire population could be lifted if a contact tracking app were being used, at least on a voluntary basis, as proposed by the government a month ago, said Janša.
He was also critical of the opposition, saying that instead of forwarding the government their remarks to the legislation, the parties only launched "senseless media attacks" on the drafts they were sent to review.
The government will present the two bills in more detail at several news conferences from Wednesday to Friday, the Government Communication Office said.