With the spread of COVID-19, Luxembourg is facing an unprecedented health crisis. This is having a significant impact on the functioning of public life as well as that of companies. In order to help companies whose businesses will be impacted by the pandemic, the Chamber of Commerce, with its entities House of Entrepreneurship, Mutualité de Cautionnement, and the General Directorate for the Middle Classes of the Ministry of the Economy presented new stimulus package measures on Friday (March 13).
by: Silicon Luxembourg
photo: Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
featured: Lex Delles, Minister for the Middle Classes, Minister for Tourism
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As a professional chamber and a legal representative of the interests of businesses in all economic sectors, except for the craft industry and agriculture, the Chamber of Commerce intends to act in a pragmatic, rapid and effective manner to provide support to the country’s businesses. It was in the presence of the Minister for the Middle Classes, Minister for Tourism, Lex Delles, that Luc Frieden, President of the Chamber of Commerce, announced a set of measures that will be active starting this Monday (March 16, 2020).
Bank guarantee for companies during cash-flow difficulties
The first measure helps companies face financial difficulties and liquidity problems. It enables the setup of a specific surety in the form of a guarantee that the Chamber of Commerce offers via its Mutual Guarantee Society (Mutualité de Cautionnement) to companies that need a line of credit or a bank loan. This guarantee will be up to 50% of the credit and covers a maximum amount of EUR 250,000 per guarantee. In order to guarantee rapid assistance to companies that request it, a procedure for analyzing files within 48 hours has been put in place. “This rapid and pragmatic measure of the Chamber of Commerce will contribute to ensuring the continuity of businesses in this difficult period”, explained Luc Frieden.
Companies wanting to take advantage of this guarantee must apply directly to their bank, which will decide whether to release the credit. The Chamber of Commerce is in contact with the banks to organize the provision of this new service. In addition, further information on this can be requested using the following number: 42 39 39 – 445.
New helpline for companies
The second measure presented is the implementation of a new helpline to help businesses with real-time information by the House of Entrepreneurship. The helpline can be reached using 42 39 39 – 445. It will be functional starting this Monday (March 16). Operational hours are from 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm during working days. This helpline can be used to receive answers on a variety of topics like short-time working or public aid provided by the authorities or the Chamber of Commerce. It will also be possible to reach this helpline via e-mail at covid19(at)houseofentrepreneurship.lu. This new helpline is not intended to answer health-related questions, which are handled by the Ministry of Health.
Virtual assistance from the House of Entrepreneurship
In view of the increasing risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the House of Entrepreneurship partner structures, usually held on Tuesdays, at the one-stop shop, have been suspended. However, these entities can still be contacted via e-mail. The House of Entrepreneurship will also continue to run its information desk via telephone on 42 39 39 – 330. For all enquiries related to creation, administrative, VAT or social security procedures, please e-mail info(at)houseofentrepreneurship.lu .
Aid for SMEs
Tourism Minister Lex Delles, Minister of Middle Classes, welcomed these measures put in place by the Chamber of Commerce. They will complement the bill adopted at the Government Council meeting of March 11, 2020 to introduce an aid scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that find themselves in temporary financial difficulty. Mr Delles pointed out that the granting of the aid was subject to a threefold condition, namely that an event was recognized as having a harmful impact on the economic activity of certain firms, that the firm was experiencing temporary financial difficulties and that there was a causal link between those difficulties and the event in question. For instance, acts of terrorism, a volcano eruption or the destruction of a building may fall within the realms of an exceptional event.