Iran offering $5bn in cheap loans to buffer businesses from pandemic

Press TV – The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has approved emergency funding worth nearly $5 billion to offer cheap loans to businesses hit by the new coronavirus pandemic.

CBI governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Thursday that major lenders in the country would start giving the loans “in the earliest time possible”.

The loans will be offered at a heap rate of 12 percent, said Hemmati, with a repayment period of two years.

He said the decision came after a high-level government meeting earlier in the day on the economic measures needed to respond to the virus pandemic in Iran.

The announcement came after Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said earlier on Thursday that cheap loans will be available to businesses and manufacturing units soon to help them cope with the impacts of the pandemic.

Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting that the government would ask for nearly $1 billion worth of support package from Iran’s severing wealth fund.

Iranian Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, who chairs the special economic committee of the government on coronavirus, said that the loans could reach a total of 1,000 trillion rials (6.25 billion).

Jahangiri said part of the funds would go to benefits to people who have lost their jobs and others could cover urgent necessities in the health sector.

The new funds come on top of previous government measures to help families affected by the outbreak of the new coronavirus and finances provided to the health ministry for imports of vital medical equipment and drugs needed to fight the virus.

Nearly 30,000 Iranians have been tested positive for the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, since the infection was spotted in the country last month.

Nearly 10,000 have recovered from the illness while more than 2,200 patients have died, based on latest figures provided by the Iranian health authorities as of Thursday.

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