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Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni (Centre) has voiced her delight with the readiness to offer more financial support to businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINANCE COMMITTEE of the Parliament has proposed that the supplementary budget drafted by the government to help businesses to deal with disruptions caused by the coronavirus epidemic be beefed up substantially.

The committee announced yesterday it is proposing that the appropriation for direct business subsidies be increased from 200 million to 1,000 million euros.

Around 70 per cent of the subsidies are to be disbursed by Business Finland and 30 per cent by the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres).

Johannes Koskinen (SDP), the chairperson of the Parliament’s Finance Committee, stated in the Parliament House on Thursday that the recent influx of applications indicates that businesses are in dire need of financial support due to the extraordinary circumstances.

“There’s evidence that the need is urgent,” he highlighted. “Applications have come in for 368 million euros in subsidies in only a couple of days, by 25 March. And the need for subsidies is only set to increase, as the disruptions caused by the new coronavirus start affecting a broader range of industries.”

The subsidies are no free lunch, he underscored.

“They’re conditional […] in the sense that they’re based on businesses keeping their employees at work, [keeping] their wage costs, other comparable personnel-related costs and all sorts of fixed costs businesses may have,” told Koskinen.

Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni (Centre) on Thursday thanked the Finance Committee for engaging in good co-operation and taking swift action in raising the direct subsidies.

“The level will be increased fivefold, which is very important to directly help many small and medium enterprises. Finland can pull through this together,” she commented yesterday on Twitter.

Her delight was echoed by Mikael Pentikäinen, the chief executive of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

“Thank you also from the enterprise federation. This provides many business owners with hope and confidence that maybe there is a road forward after all. The road will be hard and long, though, and more help will be needed,” wrote Pentikäinen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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