Luxembourg's Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Lex Delles, and Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot presented earlier today an interim review of the support measures aimed at supporting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The ministers presented this information to MPs on the Committee on the Economy, Consumer Protection and Space as well as the Committee on the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Tourism.
Economic stabilisation programme
The economic stabilisation programme, consisting of nearly 40 measures, launched on 25 March 2020. Targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the self-employed and large companies as well as their employees, these government measures have responded to the immediate needs of maintaining employment, providing businesses with liquidity and facilitating their bank financing. To date, the Directorate General of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises has paid €82.4 million to SMEs and the self-employed as part of the various direct and non-repayable financial assistance from this programme.
In addition to these non-repayable grants, there are other measures intended to support businesses, in particular a repayable advance of a maximum amount of €500,000 intended to remedy the temporary financial difficulties linked to COVID-19. 820 requests under this aid scheme have been approved so far within the Ministry of the Economy, which corresponds to a total amount of €43.7 million, including €37.7 million from the Directorate General of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
A package of additional measures was presented on 20 May 2020. Encouraging employment, supporting businesses in the most affected sectors and promoting a sustainable economic recovery: these are the three priorities of "Neistart Lëtzebuerg", which aims for a sustainable and united recovery of the Luxembourg economy. One of the key measures in this package remains partial unemployment paid for by the state and covering 80% of an individual's salary (100% of the minimum social wage). Since the start of the crisis in mid-March, nearly 14,537 companies and their employees have benefited from COVID-19-related partial unemployment, in the framework of which €795.6 million have already been paid in the form of advances.
Minister Lex Delles pointed out: “We have never paid so much financial aid as in this time of crisis. These support measures were essential and made it possible to offer rapid and effective aid. However, it will be necessary to encourage more investment, support businesses in the most affected sectors and thus boost consumption. This is the reason why we are going to set up a new recovery and solidarity fund for businesses as well as a new restart aid for the retail trade in order to initiate a sustainable recovery of the Luxembourg economy”.
Minister Franz Fayot added: "The multiplication of aid over time in favor of companies and the self-employed, and in particular partial unemployment to guarantee remuneration to employees, as well as the quantified assessment of these devices, have proven themselves [successful]. Government measures have helped to mitigate the social and economic consequences of the crisis in the short term. Other more recent support measures decided in the framework of the 'Neistart Lëtzebuerg' package will have their positive effects only in the medium or even long term”.
In order to promote the digitalisation of public administration and to speed up procedures, requests for a large number of aid to companies in the COVID-19 context are to be introduced through the professional area of MyGuichet.lu, which allows companies to carry out administrative procedures electronically. Since the start of the crisis, nearly 20,000 requests for aid from the Ministry of the Economy and 42,400 requests for partial unemployment have been submitted via this platform.