By Lee Hana
President Moon Jae-in on March 19 approved an emergency financial aid package worth KRW 50 trillion for small businesses suffering from the COVID-19 crisis.
"The package is aimed at preventing small and medium companies, small business owners and the self-employed from going bankrupt while easing their financial anxiety," he told the inaugural meeting of an emergency economic council at Cheong Wa Dae.
"This is an unprecedented and comprehensive measure in both scale and content, representing a financial stabilization package for the people's livelihood."
The aid package seeks to provide preemptive, complete and customized support to small and medium companies, small business owners and the self-employed, three economic segments most affected by the pandemic, which has ravaged the global economy.
"The measure is the result of concerted efforts by the central bank and all financial institutions that are using all means available to ensure financial liquidity for small and medium companies, small business owners and the self-employed. We will expand the package depending on need," the president said.
The assistance includes the expansion of financial support for small businesses to KRW 12 trillion, making them eligible for loans with 1.5% interest from any domestic financial institution. A special loan guarantee program worth KRW 5.5 trillion and debt rollover by all registered financial institutions are also included.
In addition, financial institutions will give small and medium companies and small business owners extensions on their loan payments and allow delayed payments for loan interest.
In another emergency measure, small business owners with up to KRW 3 trillion in monthly revenue and annual sales of KRW 100 million or less will receive full guarantees on bank loans of up to KRW 50 million.