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COVID-19 WATCH

Poland injects more cash into virus-hit economy

The main objective is to ensure that businesses where revenues have plunged do not have to lay off staff.

Agence France-Presse

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Warsaw, Poland — Poland on Wednesday said it would pump another 100 billion zloty, roughly 4.5 percent of national output, into its economy to save jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said businesses would not have to repay between 60 to 75 percent of the aid, which is equivalent to about 22 billion euros ($24 billion).

The new “financial shield” is to complement an “anti-crisis shield” worth 47 billion euros that Warsaw unveiled in March to help the normally vibrant economy weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Business and employers associations complained loudly that the initial anti-crisis package fell short of their expectations and would not protect many from bankruptcy.

The total value of exceptional government spending “will exceed 300 billion zlotys, reaching 320 or 330 billion,” Morawiecki said in Warsaw.

The main objective is to ensure that businesses where revenues have plunged do not have to lay off staff, he added.

Small and medium-sized businesses can file requests for funding online and the first payments should arrive after Easter, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Polish central bank (NBP) cut Wednesday its main policy rate by 50 basis points to a record low 0.50 percent.

NBP head Adam Glapinski said last month that a Polish recession was unlikely, though he expected economic growth to slow sharply to 1.6 percent this year in a worst-case scenario.

Several analysts consider that estimate overly optimistic.

Pre-crisis government estimates put 2020 growth at 3.7 percent, along with inflation of 2.5 percent.

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