(Yicai Global) Feb. 3 -- Suzhou, a major city in southeastern Jiangsu province, has rolled out a series of measures to assist small- and medium-sized businesses whose operations have been adversely affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The local government is offering financial support, the deferring of social security payments, rent cuts and even exemptions. The aid is valid for three months starting from yesterday.
Suzhou is offering free rent for one month to small and medium-sized firms that lease office space in state-owned buildings and 50 percent reductions in rent for another two months. The municipality is asking landlords of other commercial properties to waive or lower rentals.
The city will cut the mandatory unemployment tax by half for all businesses who do not lay off staff or who only slash a few jobs.
Those firms adversely affected by the epidemic can defer the payment of social security, unemployment tax and employee health insurance for up to six months. They can also apply for a reduction in or to be exempted from property and urban land use taxes and can defer payment for up to three months.
Credit support to micro- and small-sized firms should be stepped up and the loans made available to these firms should not be less than the amount lent over the same period last year, the city said. Interest rates should be between minus 10 percent to 10 percent and must be less than or equal to last year's rates.
The government will prioritize support for innovation industrial areas, high-tech business parks and startup bases that reduce or waive rentals for small and medium businesses during the epidemic.
Suzhou had 44 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus as of noon today.
Editor: Kim Taylor