(Yicai Global) Feb. 5 -- Beijing, Chongqing and other Chinese cities unveiled a number of preferential policies today, including cuts to taxes and financing costs, to help support businesses during the period of the novel coronavirus epidemic.
The Beijing government vowed that loans to companies in trouble will not be withdrawn in advance. The capital will also boost credit support for firms working in the fields of epidemic prevention and control and people's livelihoods.
Companies that fail to pay social security premiums due to the virus outbreak will not have their welfare entitlement compromised. The collection period has also been extended to allow businesses in hard-hit sectors such as tourism, hospitality and catering to delay premium payments.
The virus has brought much of China to a standstill in the past few weeks, with several cities in lockdown, and has led to a delayed return to work after the extended Lunar New Year holiday. Confirmed cases of the infection on the mainland reached 24,388 as of today, national health authorities said. A total of 492 people have died of the disease so far.
Measures introduced by Chongqing, a metropolis in the southwest of the country, include further optimizing government services for small- and medium-sized businesses, easing the burden on companies and stepping up financial support. These policies will be in force between Feb. 5 and June 30.
Specifically, the city will establish 'green channels' for project approval and material procurement as well as setting up 'green channels' for the import and export of epidemic prevention materials and for the transportation of emergency materials.
Chongqing will also cut taxes, defer social security insurance premiums, ease the housing provident fund payment burden, lower or exempt rents, cut the burden of electricity and gas use, and provide small- and micro-sized firms with cheaper loans.
Editor: Peter Thomas