Hospitality and tourism most affected by the corona virus. Economy liquidity loans to citizens freeze installments on loans for 90 days.
Serbia is fully liquid and has the money to handle the crisis caused by the corona virus, Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said yesterday. He specified that 1.8 billion euros is in the budget account and announced a new package of measures to help citizens and the economy, including freezing of loan payments for 90 days. Depending on the development of the market situation, the measures will be adjusted. For the sake of reminding, the first package included assistance to pensioners of 35 euros, pay raises of 10 percent of health care workers, 200 million euros of additional money for infrastructure and reduction of the reference interest rate.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the epidemic would have a major impact on the economy, adding that some sectors were already dead, such as tourism and hospitality, and that the government would seek to eliminate the consequences.
– We have left borders for trucks, for importing raw materials and for exporting products. Infrastructure projects continue as far as they can. The better the weather, the easier it will be for us to deal with the virus – said Brnabic, noting that the first goal is to protect senior citizens and the second is to protect the health system.
All estimates suggest that the corona virus will slow down economic activity by about one percent. Construction is one of the industries that can fix that picture. Our country is ready to spend an additional 200 million euros on infrastructure, and this has already been decided in the first package of measures to help eliminate the effects of the corona virus.
The Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure tells Politika that all construction sites are still operating and that around 2000 workers have been hired at seven major infrastructure sites, including the Moravian Corridor, the Cacak-Pozega highway, the Belgrade-Budapest railway. But because of the corona virus, there are already some problems with the implementation of infrastructure projects.
– The two have crystallized and we are fighting with Chinese companies. The first is that some Chinese workers could not come to Serbia to continue their work. The second problem is related to the equipment to be shipped from China. The equipment is manufactured by tens of thousands of companies in China that were either closed or not closed in the previous period, according to the ministry, as Chinese companies are engaged in the construction of the Cacak-Pozega highway and the Belgrade-Budapest railway.
The consequences for the time being do not have much influence on the delay and the dynamics of the implementation of infrastructure projects in Serbia.
– The delay may be a month or two, which is not such a big lag considering that it is a major infrastructure project – the ministry said.