Coronavirus-affected tourism sector to receive aid from the Armenian government
Companies working in the tourism sector will receive financial support from the Armenian government passed by the cabinet on August 13, including small hotels, spa resorts, travel agencies, companies that provide services to tourists, including catering, that were left without an income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state will support organizations that have at least three employees and that were created no later than the end of March 2020. The programme is primarily aimed at companies that have not laid off employees.
Who can benefit from the assistance?
Economy Minister Tigran Khachatryan explained that state aid will be issued in the form of grants to pay salaries.
Moreover, companies that have tried to avoid layoffs will receive special assistance. For example, if during the last year an organization managed to retain more than 70% of its staff, it will be given a grant for every third employee, if they retained between 20% – 70% of staff, they will receive a grant for every fourth employee.
As for the timing, the program will run from July 2020 to March 2021. But if the financial position of the company stabilizes, then the support will stop – for example, if during a certain quarter the turnover of the organization exceeds 70% of the turnover of the same quarter of the last year.
Companies that received assistance in 2019 in the form of a VAT refund of more than 50 million drams (approximately $104,000) and still let go of 50% of their staff will not be eligible for aid.
Enterprises that hide their turnover and do not issue cash receipts will not be eligible either.
“If a company has violated the rules for using cash registers and this act has not been appealed, then from this month the company will cease to be a beneficiary of the programme,” the Minister of Economy said.
How much have anti-crisis programmes cost the state?
In total, the Armenian government has launched 24 anti-crisis programmes to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus.
They were intended to help businesses and the poor. As of August 12, 144.5 billion drams (about $300 million) have been allocated for these programmes, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a government meeting:
“Of these, 26.2 billion drams (almost $55 million) has already been spent on social programs, 17.5 billion drams (over $36 million) on economic programmes, and another 19.9 billion drams (about $42 million) have been transferred through banks.”