Romania's Govt. increases working capital grants scheme by EUR 650 mln
Romania's Government increased by EUR 650 million to EUR 1 billion the budget for working capital grants aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
A total of 22,226 companies have applied for working capital grants of up to EUR 150,000, and the Government promised it would finance all of them, Start-up.ro reported.
The scheme is part of a three-part grants program, approved under emergency ordinance OUG 130/2020, and financed mainly with EU funds. The program's initial value was EUR 1 billion, but will now increase to EUR 1.5 billion after the Government changed OUG 130.
The program also includes a micro-grants scheme for micro-enterprises, through which the applicants receive EUR 2,000 to cover current expenses. Over 26,000 local firms with no employees, individual businesses (PFA), and NGOs applied for these micro-grants, but the Economy Ministry has approved only 5,100 of the applications so far. However, economy minister Virgil Popescu said on Wednesday evening that he was confident that most of the companies that have applied would get the micro-grants and grants for working capital by the end of this month.
The Government also approved a change related to the third part of the grants program, namely the investment grants of up to EUR 200,000. Thus, the Government delayed enforcing a law adopted by the Parliament and promulgated by president Klaus Iohannis, which changes the criteria for distributing these investment grants. This decision allows the Economy Ministry to launch the applications for investment grants based on the initial criteria and not wait until the European Commission approves the new ones.
Minister Virgil Popescu promised the call for applications would open next week. Companies that want to access investment grants will have 90 days to apply, and the first-come-first-served principle used for the micro-grants and working capital grants will not apply in this case.
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