After a virus, Corvid-19, began to spread throughout the world, many countries have faced changes both at the social and economic levels.
The global economy expects losses in the coming period, with the first visible negative effects in the next three months, when it is expected that countries will use their resources from pandemic suppression.
Many countries have already adopted economic measures, and International funds have been set up as emergency funds to combat the spread of viruses.
Measures that are currently in place have highest focus on protection of the most vulnerable industry sectors, such are hospitality industry, air transport and other directly affected industries, which can lead to a big losses in the coming period. Also, measures like delaying fiscal obligations and stimulating employers to maintain current number of employees are ubiquitous among strong economies. There are also more aggressive measures to preserve economy growth with “whatever it takes” policy, and reserving enormous resources.
When it comes to the Republic of Serbia, the following measures were initially adopted in order to prevent the consequences of COVID-19:
* Moratorium on loan repayment provided by NBS(National Bank of Serbia) – the moratorium shall not be shorter than 90 days or shorter than duration of the state of emergency caused by COVID-19. Also, during the state of emergency, banks are not allowed to calculate statutory interest or to initiate the enforcement procedure or to conduct any other legal actions toward debtors aimed on debt collection.
* Tax relief for debtors in enforced collection – this practically means that during the state of emergency, the Tax Administration will not ex officio annul the agreement, i.e. terminate the decision on the rescheduling of payment of the tax due and will not carry out the enforced collection procedure, without an interest being calculated within the stated period.
In addition to, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has adopted a set of new economic measures worth 5.1 billion euros to help the economy during the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic, in order to preserve the level of employment and provide assistance to those companies that have been the most affected by this crisis, namely micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The measures themselves are divided into 4 parts: Tax policy measures, Assistance to employees, Preservation of liquidity and Assistance to every adult citizen:
* Tax policy measures – the deadline for payment of income and contribution taxes for the private sector will be postponed for the duration of the state of emergency, for a period of at least 3 months, with the possibility of subsequent repayment of incurred liabilities in 24 equal installments beginning at the earliest January 2021. Also, the payment of income tax advance payments in the second quarter is delayed and donors are exempt from VAT,
* Assistance to employees – assistance to flat-rate entrepreneurs who pay real income taxes, as well as to employees in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the private sector, is reflected in the payment of cash assistance in the amount of 3 minimum wages over the next 3 months. Large private sector companies will be paid 50 percent of the net minimum wage, for employees who were given the decision on cessation of work,
* Preservation of liquidity – as for the liquidity preservation measures, for which 2.2 billion euros shall be earmarked, they include the adoption of programs for the provision of cheap loans for maintaining liquidity and working capital for companies in the segment of entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, agricultural holdings and cooperatives registered in the relevant registry through the Development Fund of the Republic of Serbia and Guarantee Scheme for supporting the economy in the conditions of the Covid-19 crisis for loans for maintaining liquidity and working capital for companies in the segment of entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium enterprises, and agricultural holdings through commercial banks operating in Serbia,
* Assistance to each adult citizen – in the form of direct financial assistance, all adult citizens of the Republic of Serbia shall receive an amount of 100 euros in RSD equivalent.
It is important to note that this program will not apply to companies that have reduced their employee numbers by more than 10% since the start of the state of emergency.
What we can sum up is that the Serbian economy is not affected like China is (the country from which the virus originated), but it will not recover as quickly as China.
If the virus continues to progress globally and slow down further economic growth, it is likely that many countries will seek funding from international funds.
However, for now, as we can see, Serbia has taken measures that can be foreseen for up to 3 months from its own funds. By all accounts, for now the Government’s measures are moving towards job retention and stimulation of employers.