ZAGREB – Members of the government donate pay to fight two crises

Members of the government will donate their March pay into an account dealing with the damage caused by the earthquake in Zagreb, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday (24 March).

PM Plenković stressed this was the opportunity for the government to show ”unity, solidarity and responsibility” while dealing with the coronavirus and the earthquake, which took place in the capital city of Zagreb on Sunday (22 March).

About 180 Zagreb residents are currently staying at the Cvjetno Naselje student dorm after having lost their homes and will stay there for longer, as the buildings are still being inspected by static experts.

Croatia’s ministry of science and education reported damage to 63 educational facilities, while other museums, churches and other cultural spots had suffered the biggest harm. To tackle the other crisis, the government presented 63 measures to save the economy worth HRK 39 billion.

Plenkovic pointed out three main measures including: an interest-free deferral of public contributions for ailing businesses meaning there will be no ”income tax, profit tax, pension and health insurance contributions”. The second measure aims to preserve employment by covering the total cost of a net minimum wage per employee. The third one is aimed at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and offers loans for liquidity and working capital with a 12-month-grace-period and very low interest. The measures will apply for at least three months. 

From their windows, citizens applauded on Monday (23 March) all services who are helping to deal with two crises. The Zagreb earthquake, at 5.5 on the Richter-scale, has done a lot of damage to the economy and society already burdened with consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Let us stay together. We are together in this situation in this or that way in the next few months,” said the PM, pointing out that all unnecessary budgetary expenses will be cut and that Croatia will urgently have €240 million at its disposal for the state’s liquidity. 

The PM also said that the coronavirus would last longer and that it will be harder than the financial and economic crisis of 2008. The most important thing now is to keep economic stability, he said, adding that what lay ahead was the struggle to save production and jobs. (Karla Junicic, EURACTIV.hr)

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