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COVID19 - Public measures

As part of its effort to foster the resilience of the European microfinance sector, EMN is maintaining and updating a list of all relevant governmental measures, publications, good practices ans other resources, to guide and accompany practitioners in weathering the COVID-19 crisis and emerge stronger.

Country/Region Measures  

European Union 

  • In July 2020, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Commission launched new support measures under the EaSI programme.
  • The new measures will support micro and social enterprises as well as individual micro-borrowers hit by the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The objective is to further incentivise financial intermediaries to lend money to small businesses, mitigating the sudden increase in perceived risk triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, and alleviating working capital and liquidity constraints of final beneficiaries targeted by the EaSI programme. Key features of these new measures include higher risk coverage, broadening of certain parameters, such as an increase of the maximum exposure for micro and social enterprises, and more flexible terms.
  • The new features will be accessible to financial intermediaries, that can potentially serve thousands of companies benefitting from guarantees under the EaSI Guarantee Instrument.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • €80 million are provided to companies that have difficulties in paying employee salaries, through the instrument of a sovereign guarantees;
    • The government promised it will pay the salaries of about 60,000 employees of small businesses or self-employed people, which will cost about €13 million;
    • An extended aid package that will support 100,000 employees in small businesses;
    • The government will temporarily double monthly social benefits for about 70,000 very poor families at a cost of about €2.8 million;
    • €52 million allocated for the most immediate needs to the most disadvantaged part of the population, to small businesses and for potential unemployment due to the fight against the virus, vi) deferral of taxes for businesses;
    • Extension of the deadline of payment of loans to enterprises and households that may face difficulties during this period due to the COVID-19.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Funds for self-employed and micro enterprises;
    • Credit guarantees for self-employed;
    • Subsidies for operating cost across elf-employed and micro firms;
    • Corporate tax deferral.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Income tax deferral;
    • Deferral of social security contributions;
    • One-off cash payment for self-employed plus monthly payments under certain requirements.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Households that live from informal activities, self-employment or domestic work and have suffered income losses will receive a one-off bonus of $150 in April, May and June;
    • Unemployment insurance protection has been reinforced and extended until 31 December 2020;
    • Due payments for taxes and social security contributions have been postponed for SMEs to 31 October;
    • Public and private banks will support private SMEs of sectors most affected by the lockdown with working capital for up to 180 days;
    • The public sector provides loans of up to $2,300 with zero interest rates to self-employed workers whose revenues have strongly decreased due to the crisis;
    • Public credit guarantees for bank lending to MSMEs affected by the emergency situation have been reinforced;
    • Until 31 December 2020, access to electricity, gas, water as well as phone lines and internet will not be suspended for SMEs unable to pay up to seven monthly bills since March 2020;
    • Until 31 December 2020, a stay on both bank account closures due to bounced checks and credit denial to companies with payroll tax arrears helps securing access to banking services for affected companies.
  • On social and employment fields
    • The payment of employer contributions will be exempted for sectors critically affected by the coronavirus pandemic;
    • Mortgage credit payments frozen until September;
    • The Productive Recovery Programme (REPRO) will be extended to guarantee employment for those working in companies affected by the health emergency which means that the State will pay part of the wages of the workers concerned;
    • Dismissals and suspension of workers for absence or other causes linked to COVID are forbidden until July 2020;
    • The Emergency family Income, a lump sum payment of ($155) provided for the month of April, Rise of cash transfers to poor families and Food vouchers.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Self-employment replacement income per month if activity stop;
    • COVID-19 tax shelter system for SMEs;
    • Increased investment deduction for investments;
    • Regional guarantees for firms and self-employment;
    • Fund to support liquidity of firms;
    • Guarantee scheme for new credit lines;
    • Regional premium for small firms and self-employed.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Postponement of social security contributions for self-employed;
    • Deferral of payment of mortgages/credits and premiums for fire insurance and outstanding balance for self-employed;
    • Flexibility in payment terms of taxes.

Bosnia & Herzegovina 

  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Republika Srpska (RS)
    • Around €29 million from the Solidarity Fund is dedicated to cover the minimal salary, contributions and taxes for around 70,000 employees in April;
    • €15 million as an assistance to local communities to help repair the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • Ministry of Agriculture has also allocated €1.1 million in loans to encourage agricultural output for small producers;
    • All borrowers from the Investment and Development Bank are granted a three month repayment moratorium;
    • The Investment and Development Bank dedicated a credit line to local businesses (craftsmen, entrepreneurs and SMEs);
    • Together with the EBRD and the Guarantee Fund of RS €25 million will be provided as a guarantee for loans which business entities will be able to obtain through commercial banks;
    • Banks can approve to clients special measures: a moratorium at least until the end of extraordinary situation, a grace period of up to 6 months, granting of an additional amount of exposure to overcome liquidity difficulties; a similar decision has been adopted for microcredit organizations.
    • FBiH
    • The obligation to make advanced payments on corporate income tax for businesses and self-employers is abolished;
    • Around €50 million to provide guarantees to commercial banks for loans destined to companies whose activities are characterised as those in the strategic development sectors;
    • Banks are encouraged to consider additional customer relief and measures to support clients who are found to have aggravated circumstances for loan repayments due to COVID-19 (like moratoriums, grace period, granting additional amounts to overcome liquidity difficulties);
    • Adoption of the Programme of Economic Stabilisation 2020-2021.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Formal workers and their employers can benefit from a new short-time work scheme with public income support from unemployment insurance;
    • Some tax liabilities, especially for SMEs, have been deferred for three months;
    • For SMEs, an emergency credit line has been opened to cover 2 months of wages for employees;
    • The national development bank BNDES has announced new credit lines to companies with a loan volume of 0.6% of GDP.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Extend access to Bolsa Familia bringing total to 14.3 million families;
    • Informal workers as micro entrepreneurs will receive a temporary new benefit of $120 per month ($240 for single mothers) until end of the year under certain conditions;
    • Firms can give flexibility of working hours and annual leave;
    • Emergency Benefit for Preserving Employment and Income.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • 60:40 salary support scheme to support businesses affected in the crisis;
    • Subsidies introduced for companies hiring unemployed people;
    • Loan guarantees by the state benefiting private borrowers, a government-backed package of financial instruments (€230.000 million). Under this, there will be a micro loans programme with measures to support self-employed individuals and small start-ups, including those set up by vulnerable groups;
    • Bulgarian National Bank has implemented a six-month moratorium on loan repayments for debtors hit by COVID-19, will run until March 2021.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Public sector subsidies to businesses;
    • Deferral  and exemption of taxes and social security contributions, for instance exemptions for entrepreneurs with an annual income of less than HRK 7.5 million (representing 93% of firms) whose revenue declined by more than 50%;
    • The Croatian Small Business Agency (HAMAG-BICRO) has made loans to support working capital of small businesses. Currently, around 900 businesses have benefited, representing a sum of €95 million;
    • The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) allows for moratoriums and loan extensions on debts, as well as new liquidity loans to assure basic expenses of businesses;
    • Adjustment of its regulatory framework and monitoring activities in order to support the liquidity of financial institutions;
    • Prolongation of existing employment support measures and introduced a measure including coverage of part of fixed costs due to limited economic activity, for all firms whose revenues fall by more than 60% in December 2020.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • To launch a solidarity fund with a lump-sum compensation to the loss of turnover over one year (up to 1500€) for small businesses, self-employed, entrepreneurs and liberal professions;
    • Postponement of taxes payments;
    • State guarantee in cash loans to companies;
    • State-guaranteed treasury loan for newly created companies;
    • Early repayments of corporate tax claims refundable in 2020;
    • Postponements water, gas or electricity bills for small firms.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Self-employed parents still have paid sick leave;
    • Extension of social rights;
    • Extension of unemployment benefits;
    • Postponement of social security contributions.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Extension of the regular unemployment benefit payment, as well as extension of the long-term unemployment benefit and the unemployment benefit to freelancers and self-employed workers, for two months;
    • Allowance of €800 for self employed, freelancers, individual businesses (520,000 individuals) and employers of up to 20 employees (90,000 individuals) and affected by the coronavirus crisis based on specific NACE codes;
    • 25% reduction in tax and social security contribution obligations (excluding VAT), if paid on time, for employees of halted firms as well as for self-employed, freelancers and firms affected by the coronavirus crisis;
    • Suspension of VAT and other tax obligations' payments that were due between March 11- April 30 until August 31 for businesses, self-employed persons and sole proprietorships affected by the coronavirus crisis based on specific NACE codes;
    • Suspension of SSC payments due by the end-March until October 31 for businesses, self-employed persons and sole proprietorships affected by the coronavirus crisis based on specific NACE codes. Suspended payments will be paid in 4 instalments of equal amount without interest and surcharges;
    • A scheme of €2 billion for the support of the economy through the issuance of guarantees by the Hellenic Development Bank has been approved under the EU temporary framework for state aid;
    • Suspension of loan repayments (for the principal amount) until September for firms affected by the coronavirus crisis. This measure was agreed by Greek banks.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Income support to persons losing their jobs or self-employed;
    • Social contributions payments and tax obligations postponement;
    • Suspension of bank loan repayments for consistent enterprises;
    • 60% of rent payments for companies whose operation has been suspended because of COVID during stipulated months.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • New wage subsidy scheme plus the scheme already ended in September;
    • Monthly basic income for self-employed workers and farmers;
    • Small enterprises will benefit from a reduction of the Small Companies Special Tax Regime rate (KIVA);
    • Temporarily suspension of employers' social security contributions in most affected economic sectors;
    • €258 billion in investment subsidies under the Economy Protection Action Plan that aims at restarting the economy;
    • Government planned 2-percentage point cut to employers’ social contributions;
    • Subsidised emergency credit lines for eligible firms.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Self-employed can apply for an income compensation;
    • Short-time work schemes, where the state pays part of the wages lost due to the reduced working hours and provides a percentage of wage compensation for employees in specific sectors;
    • Temporary tax exemptions for small business and entrepreneurs.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Rescue and Restructuring Scheme for firms;
    • Money vouchers provided by local offices;
    • Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Loan;
    • Restart grants for micro and small businesses;
    • State COVID-19 Credit guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Package of sick pay and illness/supplementary benefits for self-employed and employees;
    • COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment;
    • Deferral to stamp duty.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • One-off payment to self-employed and seasonal workers;
    • Allowance per month for self-employed workers during 3 months in specific municipalities;
    • Increase of the Fund providing fee-free guarantee for SMEs loans;
    • Suspension of 6 months of loan repayment by SMEs;
    • Suspension of payment of electricity, gas, water and waste bills;
    • Suspension of tax collection during certain months and postponement of tax deadlines;
    • Non-bank intermediaries could operate temporarily below level of Pillar 2 Guidance and possibility of delays on reporting.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Deferral of social security payments;
    • Money vouchers for self-employed with children aged under 12;
    • Extension of deadlines for applying for unemployment insurance.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Emergency support package to support individuals, firms and municipalities affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Support for crisis-related unemployment, iii) All payments to social welfare recipients have been doubled;
    • €6 million will cover amounts to be awarded for any new hired employee during the COVID-19 situation with a defined term contract of at least one year;
    • Micro-enterprises and self-employed workers can apply to receive credit guarantees valued up to €10,000;
    • Deferral of taxes.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Recovery and Solidarity Fund for companies and independent professionals in certain sectors;
    • Aid scheme of payment to SMEs;
    • Tax-free grants for companies with less than 10 employees;
    • Tax-free grants for self-employed;
    • Extension of deadline for corporate tax filling;
    • Luxembourg banks moratorium on loan repayments for SEMs and self-employed;
    • State guarantee facility.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Extension of deadline for personal income tax filling;
    • Self-employed possibility to take family leave;
    • Extension of unemployment benefits.
north macedonia

North Macedonia 

  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • The government implemented a fiscal package (0.2% of GDP) to help address firms' liquidity problems and protect jobs, targeted to affected sectors;
    • Unemployed or part of the informal economy will have fast access to the social protection system;
    • Possibility of being released from advance payment of corporate income tax;
    • Interest free loans for micro and small companies;
    • State guarantee for commercial loans for small and micro enterprises;
    • The National Bank has revised its credit risk regulation, to encourage banks to restructure loans temporarily, and has relaxed the loan classification standards for NPLs;
    • Support private associative initiatives that respond to the need for solidarity arising from the COVID-19 crisis.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Subsidies of a percentage of minimum wage for employees in sectors closed due to pandemic and for new employed workers in SMEs, ii) Deferral of the payment of personal income tax and social security contributions, iii) New investment and development fund credit line intended to improve the liquidity of entrepreneurs, SMEs and large enterprises up to a maximum amount of EUR 3 million per beneficiary with an interest rate of 1.5%, iv) Regulation to allow Banks to restructure loans, additional extend of repayment periods, these measures apply also to microfinance institutions, v) Deferral of loan repayment at the request of the individual or business with all banks, micro-credit institutions and the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro for a period of 90 days.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Self-employment income support and loan scheme;
    • Temporary Emergency Scheme for Job Retention;
    • Tax-free allowance for SME entrepreneurs in certain sectors;
    • One-off allowance for firms that had to close;
    • Deferral of taxes;
    • Compensation for fixed charges for SMEs;
    • Small companies backing microcredits get benefits on interest and deferment of repayment;
    • Guarantee from State for SME loans;
    • Small Credits Corona Guarantee Scheme.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Social assistance benefits during 3 months for self-employed without staff.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • Loans for micro-firms with special conditions;
    • Deferral for taxes;
    • Financing scheme for firms such as guarantees, operational leasing schemes and micro loans.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Postponement or exemption of social contributions;
    • One-off cash payment (subsidies) with specificities for self-employed.


  • Measures for microenterprises
    • State guarantee scheme to subsidised interest rates for small and microenterprises;
    • Bonus for the payment of corporate income tax for microenterprises;
    • Extension of the payment deadlines for electricity, gas, water for certain SMEs;
    • Tax deductions on corporate income tax;
    • SMEs obtaining an emergency certificate can benefit from an extension of the payment deadlines for utility services (electricity, natural gas, water, telephone and internet services) and rents.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • New measures to stimulate youth employment;
    • Government will pay minimum monthly salary to every employee of a micro, small and medium sized enterprise for three months;
    • €2.5-4.5 billion to support private sector activity and employment;
    • Measures to facilitate the eligibility criteria for loans and to provide financial assistance for farmers;
    • Public Loans from Development Fund to improve liquidity and working capital for companies of tourism, hospitality and transport sectors;
    • Guarantee schemes for loans for the maintenance of liquidity and working capital for small business owners, SMEs and agricultural enterprises through commercial banks operating in Serbia;
    • The Serbian Innovation Fund introduced a special call for proposals to respond to pandemic tailored for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
south africa

South Africa 

  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • An increase in the expanded employment tax incentive amount;
    • Potential special dispensation for companies that are in distress because of Covid-19, employees will receive wage payment through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme;
    • Fast-tracking of value-added tax (VAT) refunds;
    • Postponing the implementation of some Budget 2020 measures related with taxes;
    • An increase in the proportion of tax to be deferred and in the gross income threshold for automatic tax deferrals;
    • An additional R100 billion will be set aside for protection of jobs and to create jobs;
    • R40 billion for income support payments for workers whose employers are not able to pay their wages;
    • R2 billion will be made available to assist SMEs and spaza shop owners and other small businesses;
    • R100 million has been provided: in the form of loans, grants and debt restructuring to SMMEs, spaza shop owners and other informal businesses;
    • R200 billion loan guarantee scheme to assist enterprises with operational costs, such as salaries, rent and the payment of suppliers;
    • Department of Small Business Development is setting up two funds amounting to R500 million to help firms;
    • A Debt Relief Fund to help alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus on small businesses;
    • Business Growth/Resilience Facility is being established to enable continued participation of SMEs in supply value chains;
    • COVID-19 Agricultural Disaster Support Fund for smallholder and communal farmers with a minimum turnover of R20 000, but not exceeding R1 million per annum.
  • On social and employment fields
    • A special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month for the next 6 months will be paid to individuals who are currently unemployed and do not receive any other form of social grant;
    • The South African Social Security Agency will implement a technology-based solution to roll out food assistance at scale through vouchers and cash transfers to ensure that help reaches those who need it faster and more efficiently;
    • A Solidarity Fund is set up;
    • Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home.


  • On fiscal and monetary fields
    • ICO line of guarantee for self-employed and SMEs;
    • Companía Española de Reafianzamiento loan guarantee for SMEs and self-employed;
    • Grants and loans to small companies for digitalisation;
    • Special method for calculation of taxes for self-employed;
    • Interest free postponement of tax payments  for self-employed and SMEs;
    • 3-months moratorium on mortgage payments for self-employed.
  • On social and employment fields
    • Temporary employment adjustment schemes with a extraordinary benefit to self-employed;
    • Suspension of social security contributions for self-employed during 6 months.

With the support of