The largest support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in Romania, IMM Invest, started on Friday morning and with it the second stage in reopening Romania’s economy, Finance Minister Florin Citu said on Friday.
“Today, at 10:00hrs, we started the largest programme to support small and medium-sized enterprises in Romania, IMM Invest. With a single click and filling in a form, small and medium-sized enterprises in Romania today have access to guaranteed loans for investment and working capital guaranteed up to 90%. Thus, the government of Romania starts the third important programme in this first stage. After the short-time working, the deferral of interest rates on bank loans, we are now starting IMM Invest. This programme is important not only for its size and characteristics. This programme marks the second stage, the stage of reopening the economy,”Citu said at a news conference at the Government House.
He pointed out that, compared with the other two programmes, IMM Invest has no conditionality, but addresses all small and medium-sized companies in Romania, not only those affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“It is a programme that can be accessed all year long, but the implications are long term. It is a programme to start the reopening of the economy. IMM Invest, together with the programme conducted by Eximbank for large companies are the first two measures we are taking to restart the economy,” said Citu.
The guarantee caps under this programme is 15 billion lei and is a state aid scheme that has been approved by the European Commission. Loans are guaranteed up to 90%, depending on destination, whether they for working capital or investment.
“Our reckonings show that we have a multiplication degree of at least 75 billion lei in the economy and in the first phase some 600,000 jobs will be supported directly,” said the minister.
He added that registration on the imminvest.ro platform is very simple “because he has checked that personally,” specifying that a form is completed, and subsequently the information is sent to the bank that each client has requested. If a client has been refused by a bank, there is the possibility of trying another bank.
“There are no commissions. Commissions and interest are borne by the government of Romania. Another difference from what has happened so far and why I said that it is the most important programme of the last 30 years: so far, the amount we could pay a company under such programmes approved by the European Commission was a maximum of 200,000 euros. This is the first time the European Commission has granted us this programme and we can extend this facility for an amount of 800,000 euros per company. It is a huge difference and clearly shows that it is a programme that wants to reopen the economy,” said Citu, according to Agerpres.
He also said that there is no deadline, and the first-come-first-served rule does not apply. The programme will run throughout the year until December 31, and if necessary the ceiling will be supplemented if needed.
“By this measure we close this first stage in which the government of Romania has earmarked 3% of GDP for measures to support the economy. And we will see the results in the economy very quickly,” said the minister.
Cyberattack reported on Gov’t SME assistance site
The National Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (FNGCIMM) has publicly presented data indicating a cyberattack on the IMM Invest website, Finance Minister Florin Citu wrote on Friday on his Facebook page.
“FNGCIMM has publicly presented data indicating a cyberattack on the IMM Invest website. Who attacked the site?
Why was it attacked? The state institutions are currently working on the case, and we will present their findings as we get them.
The registration procedure will resume from scratch. This site is a unique electronic registry that is analysed only if the applicant is eligible and has a SME status. The principle of enrollment in the programme is not first come, first served. The application remains open until the end of this year. The most important SME support programme in the last 30 years will work and will work excellently, “said Citu.
FNGCIMM Director General Dumitru Nancu quoted by Agerpres, said on Friday at a news conference that the Imminvest.ro application got stuck after 397,000 applications per minute were received from 132,000 connections.
“Today the application www.imminvest.ro was supposed to be launched. Unfortunately, the application was blocked exactly at the time of its opening. Between 05:30hrs and 08:30hrs there were 2,785 accesses. The portal opened at 10:00hrs, and the number of requests was 397,000 hits per minute from 132,000 connections. In Romania, as you may know, there are 475,000 SMEs, “said Nancu.
He mentioned that the volume of traffic blocked both the website www.imminvest.ro and the website fngcimm.ro.
According to Nancu, his organisation together with the Special Telecommunications Service (STS) and the National Cyberint Centre of the Romanian Intelligence Service try to identify the causes that led to the blockage, and subsequently the application will be transferred and managed by STS.
In his opinion, the application could become functional on the first working day after Easter.