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Ukraine approves aid to businesses ahead of tighter national lockdown

Ukrainian lawmakers on Friday approved an aid package for entrepreneurs and businesses who are struggling to cope with lockdown restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The new measures, put forward by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will support mainly small businesses and individual entrepreneurs that would have to shut down or close temporarily, or businesses which are forced to cut staff.

Reuters | Kyiv | Updated: 04-12-2020 19:43 IST | Created: 04-12-2020 19:39 IST
Ukraine approves aid to businesses ahead of tighter national lockdown
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Ukrainian lawmakers on Friday approved an aid package for entrepreneurs and businesses who are struggling to cope with lockdown restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new measures, put forward by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will support mainly small businesses and individual entrepreneurs that would have to shut down or close temporarily, or businesses which are forced to cut staff. "We have to support these drafts, we do not have much time," speaker Dmytro Razumkov said before the vote.

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said the country may need to impose a tight lockdown in early January so that hospitals can cope with an influx of coronavirus patients and an expected seasonal outbreak of influenza in January-February. The aid package, estimated at about 15 billion hryvnias ($530 million), includes financial assistance to about 1 million individual entrepreneurs and workers at small companies who are on furlough.

The government may also reimburse some taxes received from 120,000 small businesses, provide tax relief to 4 million businesses and allow 200,000 entrepreneurs not to pay taxes temporarily. The government has approved a fiscal deficit of 5.47% of GDP for 2021, which it says was done in consultation with the International Monetary Fund.

Ukraine has registered 787,891 COVID-19 cases, including 13,195 deaths, since the start of the pandemic in March. It reported 15,131 new infections in the past 24 hours. The daily tally began rising in September and has been consistently high ever since.

In November, the government imposed a national lockdown at weekends to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown meant closing or restricting most businesses except essential services such as grocery shops, pharmacies, hospitals, and transport. The decision triggered protests by businesses.

The government cancelled the weekend lockdowns this week but certain restrictions remain, such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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