Crisis shield biggest aid package in Polish history - PM

2020-03-25 20:32 update: 2020-03-30, 21:10
PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo PAP/Paweł Supernak
PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo PAP/Paweł Supernak
The government's "crisis shield" plan to protect the economy from the effects of the coronavirus epidemic is the biggest aid package in Polish history, accounting for at least 10 percent of the country's GDP, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday on Facebook.

A special government bill introducing the crisis shield will be read by the Sejm (lower house) on Friday.

Morawiecki said that the coronavirus was not only a threat to health and life, but also to the national economy. He added that according to global experts the economic effects of the epidemic will be very serious. He added that the present situation was probably the biggest test for the Polish economy in decades, and admitted that Poland will not be able to avoid all the adversities brought by the virus. He noted, however, that the crisis shield will offer a measure of protection.

"We must fight for our economy, our companies, our jobs," the PM said in a brief recording.

Morawiecki said that the crisis shield will be constantly upgraded and adjusted to new development, and appealed to Poles to show solidarity and "play in one team" in face of the situation. 

He said that the shield will cost at least 10 percent of the Polish GDP, and will among others include extended credit guarantees for SMEs, the self-employed and employees on unsecured job contracts, as well as facilitations in social security payments.

The crisis shield, a national plan aimed to ease the effects of the epidemic on enterprise and the national economy, foresees micro-loans for businesses, raised corporate loan guarantees (from 60 to 80% of the loan amount) and aid in leasing costs. Also, the government will cover up to 40 percent of the average wage for employers who decide not to downsize staff. (PAP)

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