The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) on Monday earmarked six billion Turkish liras ($860.5 million) to support the country’s small businesses against the economic effects of the novel coronavirus.
Member firms of TOBB with annual turnover below 25 million Turkish liras ($3.6 million), will be eligible to receive the up to 100,000 Turkish liras ($14,340) as part of the “Breath Credit” package via Turkish private lender Deniz Bank, said TOBB President Rifat Hisarciklioglu.
The annual interest rate of the loans will be 7.5%, with the first of 12 installment payments to start in January 2021, explained Hisarciklioglu, adding that public lenders would join the initiative in two weeks.
He noted that 80% of loans would be guaranteed by the country’s Credit Guarantee Fund, as many small enterprises have been closed for weeks and exporters, manufacturers and service providers facing “serious problems.”
Coordinated by the Treasury and Finance Ministry, public lenders promptly began supporting Turkish companies since the onset of the pandemic and the government postponed tax payments and supported employee salaries, said Hisarciklioglu.
TOBB relaunched its Breath Credit package to meet firms’ financing requirements after six previous credit packages provided in difficult times.
After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.
The virus has affected 110,130 people in Turkey so far, causing 2,805 deaths, while 29,140 patients recovered.
The pandemic has killed over 207,000 people worldwide, with total infections approaching 2.99 million and more than 875,000 recovering, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
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