Portuguese government to announce new support measures for struggling businesses

Portugal’s ‘Apoiar’ programme, aimed at businesses affected by the pandemic, is to be “reinforced and extended to new situations”.

In an interview this weekend with Diário de Notícias and TSF radio, economy minister Pedro Size Vieira said the measures will be announced next week.

“We want to reinforce the Apoiar programme – either by opening some situations that right now are excluded from access or by reinforcing amounts due to this additional period of difficulties that we have”, he said – stressing the months coming  between now and  June will be “critical” for businesses and employment.

New entries to the simplified lay-off regime, for example, were given as ‘businesses in the cleaning and security sectors’. Previously these haven’t qualified for the Apoiar support measures.

Beyond these, “there are other businesses that have suffered abrupt falls in income, and which need to be incorporated”, said Mr Siza Vieira.

Also being ‘sorted’ is the compensation promised to companies for increasing the national minimum wage by €30 to €665. This should come on board next month, said the minister, explaining it is a measure that involves the ministries of finance, labour and economy.

As to credit lines ‘guaranteed by the State’, grace periods are likely to be extended.

The government is “working on various fronts”, he assured – saying that the moratorium on credits that is due to end in September (particularly in sectors most affected) will most likely see “an extension of maturities”. A simple solution in one aspect, but “complex from the point of view of European banking supervision”.

Bottom line, he said, is to “try and find capitalisation solutions that allow businesses to get out of this crisis with a slightly more robust balance sheet”.

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