Only 10% of the € 2 billion COVID-19 loan program used by businesses

Only 10% of a massive € 2 billion COVID-19 loan program has been used by businesses, new figures have revealed.

The COVID-19[feminine Le programme de garantie de crédit a été lancé en grande pompe et a été décrit comme le plus grand programme de garantie de prêt de l’histoire de l’État.

Le programme promettait de fournir aux entreprises 2 milliards d’euros de prêts sur une période pouvant aller jusqu’à cinq ans et demi et propose une gamme de prêts comprise entre 10 000 et 1 million d’euros.

Seuls 10 % d’un énorme programme de prêts COVID-19 de 2 milliards d’euros ont été utilisés par les entreprises, ont révélé de nouveaux chiffres. Photo : Shutterstock

Il s’adresse aux PME et PME de moins de 500 salariés, y compris les entreprises des secteurs agricole et marin.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, qui est également ministre de l’Entreprise, du Commerce et de l’Emploi, a déclaré au Irish Daily Mail que de nombreuses entreprises n’avaient pas contracté le prêt parce qu’elles ne voulaient pas s’endetter. Il a déclaré: “La plupart des entreprises irlandaises n’ont aucune dette et sont réticentes à l’assumer. Ceux qui ont beaucoup de dettes n’en veulent pas plus.

Le gouvernement, a-t-il ajouté, “examine les moyens de le rendre plus attrayant avec des durées plus longues et des périodes initiales de non-remboursement”.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, qui est également ministre de l’Entreprise, du Commerce et de l’Emploi, a déclaré que de nombreuses entreprises n’avaient pas contracté le prêt parce qu’elles ne voulaient pas s’endetter. Pic: Maxwells/PA Fil

Cependant, M. Varadkar a déclaré que cela “nécessitera une certaine réflexion et l’approbation de l’aide d’État de l’UE, car il s’agit essentiellement d’une subvention”.

Le Tánaiste a également défendu le niveau global de soutien gouvernemental aux petites entreprises, notant : « Nous avons de nombreux programmes de garantie de prêts. Pour certains, comme le Future Growth Loan Scheme et Micro-Enterprise [Assistance] Scheme, participation is high.

He said that “in total, about a third of all SME loans are state backed, which is unprecedented.”

COVID-19 loan program
The COVID-19 credit guarantee program was launched with great fanfare and has been described as the largest loan guarantee program in state history. Photo: Shutterstock

Mr. Varadkar added: “The [COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme] is currently available from commercial banks, several non-bank lenders, and a number of credit unions. ‘

He also said that “this long-term political objective of diversification will increase competition in the market and ensure that a wide range of loan products will be available in all regions.”

Responding to a question from Dáil of Independent Sligo-Leitrim TD Marian Harkin, he said the program “provides vital access to lending facilities for a wide range of sectors”.

Tanaist Leo Varadkar
Le Tánaiste defended the overall level of government support for small businesses. Photo: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

But Tánaiste’s optimistic assessment has been somewhat compromised by actual participation in the program, which has distributed 207 million euros, or just over 10% of available funds, to 3,400 beneficiaries to date. The sight of another government coronavirus program sparked a backlash within Fine Gael, with a high-level warning: “We need a fundamental review of this program. A 10% stake in a government signature program is not impressive, especially where banking alternatives are so scarce on the ground. ‘

They added, “This is another example of the Tánaist being distracted. He must refocus his attention on his ministry. Mr. Varadkar admitted that participation in the program was low despite having the biggest pot. He added that, to some extent, the program fell victim to the holistic nature of the Coalition’s response to COVID-19.

He said: “Many businesses will not need to borrow until they reopen as they manage to stay afloat with the Emergency Wage Supplement Scheme and the COVID Restriction Support Scheme.”

Official figures have revealed that to date, the wholesale and retail sector accounts for 19% of loans taken out under the COVID-19 credit guarantee program, while the accommodation and hospitality sector catering services accounts for 14%. The primary sector of agriculture and fishing accounts for 13% of loans.

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Johanna Gooding

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