Coronavirus: expanded SME Credit Guarantee Scheme gets accelerated launch
The launch of the government’s expanded credit guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises has been accelerated. State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer decided today that business owners can already apply for the scheme, which will be operational from Monday 16 March 2020 and is part of a package of measures announced earlier to address the economic implications of the coronavirus crisis.
The government estimates that this first step will immediately make €300 million in extra financing available to SMEs affected by the current situation. In addition, companies can apply for shorter working hours through a scheme managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, and can apply to the Tax and Customs Administration for a deferment of or reduction in their provisional assessment. Self-employed persons without employees (ZZPs) can apply for support under the Social Assistance (Self-employed Persons) Decree.
According to Ms Keijzer, ‘Companies can use the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme for a bridging loan or to raise their current account credit facility, i.e. their overdraft limit. The expansion of this scheme is essential for the liquidity of smaller companies whose income or production has dropped as a result of coronavirus. That includes the owners of bars, cafés and restaurants and their suppliers, as well as travel agencies, but also companies that can no longer source raw materials from abroad.’
The state secretary added, ‘We’re following the situation very closely and we’re in frequent contact with enterprise-and-industry organisations and the social partners (trade unions and employers’ associations). Public health must take priority: it’s important that everyone continues to follow the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). In the meantime, the government is not going to abandon the business community. We’re constantly assessing whether additional measures are necessary in order to safeguard jobs in the Netherlands.’
SME Credit Guarantee Scheme expanded due to coronavirus crisis
Through the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is guaranteeing loans so that companies can borrow money more easily. Companies can apply for the scheme via credit institutions such as banks. Under the regular scheme, the credit guarantee applies to 50% of the credit provided by the institution concerned, often a bank. The government guarantee accounts for 90% of this credit guarantee.
Under the expansion measure, the size of the credit guarantee will increase from 50% to 75%. This means banks will be able to increase credit more easily, and companies will be able to borrow more money more quickly. In addition, the scheme announced on Thursday 12 March 2020 (Dutch) will be expanded further, making it applicable to bridging loans and current account overdrafts of up to two years in duration.
Banks can register for the expanded SME Credit Guarantee Scheme via the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl), the implementing organisation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Companies should apply via their credit provider.
For more information about coronavirus, employers and companies can visit Frequently asked questions about coronavirus for employers and businesses (Dutch) on Rijksoverheid.nl/coronavirus or contact the Chamber of Commerce advisory team at 0800 2117. For more information about coronavirus and health, please visit RIVM.nl.