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Health crisis: towards increasing amount of credit line for SMEs

Economy at a standstill and employees threatened by unemployment… No one will emerge unscathed from this major health crisis that has hit the world.

The coronavirus has had a terrible impact on all sectors … Risk of shutdown, postponement of investment, suspended recruitment are the main fallout of this crisis on companies …

The business leaders questioned, powerless in the face of this invisible monster, called on the state to support them in these delicate moments.

In this respect, rescue measures have been announced to help the stricken companies and overcome this crisis.

Loans to companies affected by the Coronavirus

Lotfi Dabbabi, Managing Director of the STB spoke about the issue of granting credit to companies in crisis situations, at a Webinar on the theme: “Which financing for SMEs for a post-COVID-19 economic acceleration”.

”The amount of the credit line to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could be increased from 500 million dinars (MD) to 1.5 billion dinars”, he said.

The government had set up a guarantee fund of 500 MD for the granting of very substantial medium-term credits to help SMEs to go through this period, as well as a support fund for SMEs in difficulty, amounting to 300 MD, Dabbabi recalled.

He said the first deadline for the repayment of these credits was fixed in June 2021.

For his part, Antoine Sallé de Chou, head of the EBRD office in Tunisia, talked about the difficulties encountered by most companies in the world.

This crisis requires the mobilization of several support mechanisms by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In the case of Tunisia, the EBRD has been asked to provide financing estimated at around 400 MD for the benefit of SMEs and the financial sector,” he said.

SMEs in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis

During this Webinar, Boutheina Ben Yaghlane, Director General of the Caisse des Dépôts et de Consignation announced that the CDC has launched a 100 MD health financing line, intended for the financing of hospital services equipment, a 500 MD investment fund to strengthen the equity of strategic companies (transport, agriculture…) and a 100 MD bridge financing instrument.

The funds mobilized by the government are insufficient and ineffective,” said the general manager of ABC Bank, Ali Kooli.

In this context, he recommended to ”rewrite the industrial and commercial policy of Tunisia, in order to better position itself on European markets”.

As for Hichem Zghal, General Manager of Tunisie Leasing and Factoring, he believes that Tunisia is missing opportunities.

We should facilitate access to credit for companies so that they can expand their activities and capture new markets, especially on the African continent,” he recommends.

2390 companies affected by the coronavirus crisis

2390 companies have registered on the electronic platform “Entreprise.finances.gov.tn” designed to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic,” Finance Minister Mohamed Nizar Yaiche indicated.

These companies have submitted 5270 applications to benefit from fiscal and financial measures to overcome the economic repercussions of this crisis.

In a statement to TAP, he said 61% of these applications are related to fiscal measures and 39% pertained to financial measures.

A working team composed of experts in taxation, finance, IT and programming has been set up to speed up the electronic processing of these requests with a view to responding to the companies concerned as soon as possible.

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