global economy

Serbia to spend 2.5 billion euros to aid recovery from coronavirus crisis

Reuters
Serbia to spend 2.5 billion euros to aid recovery from coronavirus crisis

VACCINES. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is seen as a plane transporting one million doses of Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group vaccines for COVID-19 arrives at Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, Serbia, January 16, 2021.

Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters

Serbia's aid package includes payments amounting to 50% of the minimum wage to employees of micro and small enterprises

Serbia plans to spend about 2.5 billion euros ($3.04 billion) in loans and subsidies to businesses and payments to pensioners and other citizens to help them cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday, January 26.

The package envisions an array of measures including payments amounting to 50% of the minimum wage to employees of micro and small enterprises and state guarantees for borrowing in commercial banks.

“We want to tremendously…bolster the private sector,” Vucic told state-run RTS TV.

The state also plans to distribute 30 euros to every adult Serbian citizen or about 5 million people in May and November, and an additional 50 euros to every pensioner, Vucic said.

“There will be 3 [such] gifts for pensioners, and 2 for all adult citizens,” Vucic said.

Vucic said the total public debt this year would not exceed 61% of gross domestic product.

Serbia’s 2021 budget sees economic growth at 6%, following an estimated contraction of around 1% in 2020. It also sets the 2021 deficit at 3%. The International Monetary Fund sees Serbia’s economy growing by 5% in 2021, after a forecast 1.5% contraction last year.

Last March, Serbia allocated 5.5 billion euros to help businesses and citizen cope with the crisis. Additional expenditures increased the deficit in 2020 to around 8.9%, up from the previously planned 0.3%.

In Serbia, which has a population of 7 million, 3,924 people have died from COVID-19 and 387,206 fell ill with it. The country, which has started a nationwide inoculation program, registered a new strain of the coronavirus last week. – Rappler.com