The measures are part of the government’s Social Protection Plan and include the creation of a state loan guarantee fund to facilitate SMEs’ access to credit.
In the midst of the lockdown established for over 7.7 million Chileans and with over 24,000 active cases, the government has announced five new measures to address the impact of Covid-19 on Chilean families. The measures complement the Protection Plan announced a few weeks ago.
- Basic supplies. To help the most vulnerable families who are experiencing difficulties with food, the government will begin to distribute 2.5 million baskets of food and other essential supplies.
- Access to credit for MSMEs. Given the difficulties of many MSMEs in obtaining lending from banks for working capital, the government is establishing a State Guarantee Fund and a Network of Non-Bank Financial Institutions to increase the extent and ease of lending for working capital to the smallest companies, which are the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of families.
- Mental Health Program. The government is aware of the impact of the restrictions and deprivations of the lockdown on the mental health of many Chileans and, in line with the suggestions of the Covid-19 Social Working Group - formed by government authorities, mayors, academics and health professionals to coordinate and collaborate in addressing the virus more effectively - the government will shortly launch a special Saludable-Mental (Healthy-Mind) program. It will increase the availability of public and private mental health services and will include a digital platform to provide care, support and recommendations.
- Expansion of Network of Quarantine Facilities. For many families, it is difficult to quarantine and care for those infected in their own homes. In response, the government will expand the Network of Quarantine Facilities that already exists around the country, giving priority to senior citizens.
- Increased availability of information. As part of its constant efforts to improve the quantity and quality of the information it makes available to society about coronavirus, the government will begin to publish information at the level of municipal districts in order to increase the effectiveness of measures taken by their mayors.
The new measures are in addition to those already announced by the government. These earlier measures include two economic and social plans that involve resources for more than US$17,000 million and represent close to 7% of GDP; the Employment Protection Law that supports 4.7 million Chilean workers through the Unemployment Insurance Program; the Covid-19 special benefit paid to 2.7 million vulnerable people; the Emergency Family Income, which will begin to be paid during May for three months to 4.9 million vulnerable Chileans with informal jobs; and Lines of Credit with a State Guarantee to facilitate the access of micro, small and mid-sized firms and start-ups to working capital for an amount of up to three months of sales, with a grace period of up to six months and a real interest rate close to 0%.
Would you like to know how is the Central Bank of Chile dealing with the coronavirus crisis? check out the following article.