Turkey is soon set to launch a new support package to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and help tradespeople survive the second wave of the pandemic, which has brought with it new restrictions, such as partial curfews, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.
The new support package will also include global companies, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said Wednesday, adding that negotiations were ongoing for grants to cover tradespeople's expenditures such as rent, electricity, water and gas payments.
Pekcan said that the ministry is aware that the rising number of infections deepens the problems tradespeople face as they work to keep their businesses afloat, noting they are already working on using public reserves in the most efficient way.
She expressed that besides public reserves, the ministry has contacted global firms to initiate mutual support offered in the firms' social responsibility projects.
The minister emphasized that tradespeople are eligible for interest-free or low-interest credit cards via state lender Halkbank and through Turkey's Merchants and Craftsmen Credit and Sponsorship Cooperative Unions Central Union (TESKOMB) within the scope of the ministry budget and related legislation. Grant support has already been allocated in the eastern provinces of Adıyaman and Elazığ, as well as in central Malatya, northern Giresun and western Izmir provinces due to natural disasters, including two earthquakes that hit Izmir and Malatya, she said.
"We, as a ministry, have projects in this regard. We had conveyed our demands to the Treasury and Finance Ministry to allocate similar grant payments for rent, electricity, water and natural gas payments of the tradesmen across the country and the negotiations are ongoing," Pekcan said.
The latest infection wave has prompted the government to adopt new curfews for weekends and for certain age groups, as well as limit the working hours of some businesses, including restaurants, cafes and shopping malls.
The measures became effective last Friday. Under the new restrictions, cinemas will be closed and schools will return to online education for the rest of the year.
A partial weekend lockdown will be imposed nationwide until further notice. Turkey’s daily COVID-19 death toll hit a record high of 161 on Tuesday, bringing the total toll to 12,672, according to data from the Health Ministry. The data showed 7,381 new COVID-19 patients were recorded in the country, raising the overall count to 460,916. So far, 381,569 patients have recovered.
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