Turkey passes bill to tackle pandemic’s impact

Country to provide several types of support to protect economic and social life against COVID-19’s destructive effects

Turkey’s parliament ratified a bill Thursday that was prepared by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party to alleviate the effects of the novel coronavirus on economic and social life.

The country has postponed rental payments for three months on several types of state-owned immovable properties.

Municipalities and their sub-institutions will also be able to postpone water bills for three months for private homes and companies.

Municipalities will also be able to provide financial support to natural and legal persons who have public transport certificates or postpone several types of payments to provide uninterrupted public transport services.

Annual advertisement and environment taxes of enterprises that have been forced to close as part of measures to contain the coronavirus will not be collected during this period.

Payments on student loans have also been postponed for three months, while those on some agricultural loans have been postponed until next year.

Travel agencies will not pay fees to their unions in 2020.

Some licenses, permissions and general assemblies have been extended for licensed warehouses, commercial ships, associations, cooperatives and unions.

The country has also cancelled some local administrative elections.

Research and development and design support has been expanded.

If necessary, the treasury can support medical colleges and their subsidiaries.

Non-payment of services by the elderly and disabled at care centers has been extended for three months.

The country will provide support of 39.24 Turkish liras (about $5.70) per day to workers forced to take unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak for three months.

Their general health insurance payments will also be covered by the state.

It already pays 60% of staff salaries of firms forced out of business due to force majeure such as the pandemic.

Workers’ contracts cannot be nullified for a three-month period except in unconscionable situations.

Dividend payments of companies with share capital have been limited.

Some operations of Turkey’s Wealth Fund have been postponed.

Companies are prohibited from inflating prices of goods. Actions which prevent products from reaching consumers have also been prohibited.

The country will form a supervisory committee to prevent price gouging and stockpiling.

Turkey will fine these companies between 10,000 to 500,000 Turkish liras ($1,445 to $72,290).

All postponed loans will be collected after a three-month period in installments and without interest. Periodic postponements and support can be extended.

The virus has infected 69,392 people so far in Turkey and caused 1,518 deaths, while 5,674 have recovered.

The novel coronavirus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions since emerging in Wuhan, China last December, with the U.S. and Europe now the hardest-hit areas.

More than 2 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll at more than 136,000 and over half a million recoveries, according to data compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing and contributions by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul

Anadolu / Balkantimes.press

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