Support for Basel-Stadt businesses affected by the coronavirus

11/03/2020 (10:00)
Press release

The Government is planning to support businesses in the Canton of Basel-Stadt with various temporary measures aimed at reducing the impact of negative economic consequences relating to the coronavirus. At the forefront of these measures are longer periods for payment and bridging loans through banks with state guarantee.

The Government is drawing up a support programme to cushion Basel-Stadt businesses against negative economic consequences in connection with the coronavirus. Various measures are planned.

Establishment of a crisis fund
The fund to tackle unemployment (crisis fund) is set to receive an extraordinary increase amounting to five million francs. For the time being, these funds will be used to finance wages and other training costs for apprentices in businesses that have been economically affected by the coronavirus.

Longer payment periods for state payments
SMEs in particular are currently feeling the effects of the cancellation of events, because they usually have more limited financial resources than larger businesses. It is therefore essential to plug any temporary liquidity gaps as quickly and with as little red tape as possible. IWB is therefore planning to grant affected businesses extended payment periods for payments claimed. 

Bridging loans with state guarantee
In addition to longer periods for payment, affected SMEs should also be given the opportunity to take out bridging loans at favourable conditions. An appropriate approach has already been outlined in consultation with Basler Kantonalbank. As soon as the benchmark figures have been defined, other banks should also be invited to become involved in this programme. The plan is that the Canton will act as guarantor for the loans issued by the banks. This enables banks to avoid a risk premium and to offer loans at more favourable conditions. A spending decision by Parliament may be required to provide the guarantees.

The Government aims to be able to start the support programme on 1 May 2020. However, the temporary programme is explicitly only supposed to offer support to businesses whose financial difficulties are clearly connected with the coronavirus.