LISBON, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira announced Tuesday the opening of a new credit line of 1 billion euros (1.13 billion U.S. dollars) aimed at helping recover small business activities.
"In the week of July 20, we are going to open a new credit line aimed at a set of economic activities, but focusing exclusively on micro and small companies," announced the minister during a meeting at the parliament.
The minister said the government is already working together with banking institutions so that support reaches "the largest number of companies as quickly as possible."
According to him, the tourism sector will also have the additional advantage of converting 20 percent of the loan into a "lost fund" payment with no deadline for return, if they keep their current jobs and generate new openings.
"It is necessary to pay very special attention to the Algarve region, which is extremely dependent on tourism," said the minister, revealing that the government is preparing a specific program to support the south region.
The objective of the Portuguese government is to reactivate the country's economy, which suffered a severe blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Commission has lowered its economic forecasts for Portugal this year, now estimating a contraction of 9.8 percent of GDP, a steeper drop than the previous projection of 6.8 percent and the Portuguese government's estimate of 6.9 percent.