Iran’s CB lists businesses directly affected by COVID-19

Financial Tribune – The Central Bank of Iran has released a list of businesses that have been directly affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. These businesses can apply to receive support and facilities from banks.

The list includes food preparation and distribution centers, including restaurants, teahouses and other such centers; tourism outlets such as hotels, inns, road recreation and service providing centers and other such businesses identified by the Industries Ministry; air, rail and road transportation whether inter- or intra-city; travel agencies; apparel production and distribution units; bags and footwear production and distribution units; distributors of nuts and dried fruit, confectionaries, ice cream and juice; sports and recreational centers; cultural and educational centers; and handicraft production and distribution centers, ILNA reported.

The directive has been communicated to CEOs of all state-owned and private banks, Post Bank, credit institutes and Iran-Venezuela Joint Bank.

Reza Eyvazpour, an official with Plan and Budget Organization, told IRIB News that seasonal workers, vendors, taxi drivers and restaurant workers who have lost their jobs following the outbreak will be identified by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare in cooperation with guilds and introduced to PBO.

“A credit plan for the purchase of goods has been devised for these people. The plan will be launched as of Sunday [March 15],” he said.

Tehran City Councilor Zahra Nejad-Bahram said payments will be made to vendors of the capital city.

“A number of these vendors have registered and some have been identified by the municipalities for a support package that will be offered by Mostazafan Foundation, the Persian daily Shahrvand reported.

Gov’t Measures

The Iranian National Tax Administration is offering penalty abatement waiver for the Iranian month ending March 19, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

As per a bylaw signed by INTA chief, Omid Ali Parsa, businesses that pay their tax debts by June 20 will be eligible for penalty abatement waiver, which is 90% for manufacturing sector and 80% for the services sector, Mehr News Agency reported.

He also noted that the ceiling on taxable revenues of small-scale enterprises will increase from 1,000 million rials ($6,578) to 2,000 million rials ($13,157) for real entities and from 3,000 million rials ($19,736) to 5,000 million rials ($32,894) for legal entities.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development is introducing a package of measures to help businesses in transportation and tourism sectors hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

“As per a new decision by the Iranian Cabinet, all businesses hurt by coronavirus, including tourism and transportation, will get relief from penalties to employers that fail to pay insurance premiums and tax concerning the last month of the year [Feb. 20-March 19],” Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami has been quoted as saying.

According to his deputy for transportation affairs, Shahram Adamnejad, all loaded and empty containers stranded at international borders will be exempt from late fees. Further details in this regard will be announced soon.

“In addition, business licenses and permits of transportation companies in all sectors will be extended until May 20 to encourage people to stay indoors to avoid contracting the deadly virus,” he added.

Earlier, Deputy Industries Minister Hossein Modarres Khiyabani proposed measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises in the wake of coronavirus that has weighed heavily on their economic activities in a letter to Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohammad Nahavandian.

The proposed measures include tax and insurance premium forgiveness regarding the last month of the year, extended repayment plans and loans to SMEs impacted by the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, IRNA reported.

Parviz Fattah, the head of the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation, also tweeted on Sunday that the foundation will not collect rents for its commercial real estate units for two Iranian months (Feb. 20-April 19).

And last but not least, the Money and Credit Council—the top finance and banking policymaker—has agreed to postpone the repayment of loans to mitigate the effect of new coronavirus on businesses.

The decision came on the heels of calls by manufacturers and business owners facing financial problems emanating from the contagious disease, according to a notice seen on the website of the Central Bank of Iran.

As per the MCC decision, borrowers have been exempt from paying their monthly loan installments for up to three months starting from the end of the ongoing Iranian month up to May 21.

Borrowers who have to clear their debts in a lump sum have been given a grace period of three months to meet their financial commitments to banks.

The adjustments, however, do not include overdue arrears and only cover current liabilities.

Banks and credit institutions will not charge borrowers penalties or extra fees on MCC-mandated repayment delays. They are also prohibited from placing customers on the list of defaulters.