March 19, 2020 / 9:24 PM / 9 days ago

Morocco to pay jobless, defer tax and loans for small business

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco will pay a stipend to people who lose their jobs and defer tax and debt payments from small businesses to help ease economic pain related to the coronavirus, it said on Thursday.

Morocco has confirmed 61 cases of the disease, which is expected to hammer its crucial tourism sector, which last year represented nearly 11% of gross domestic product.

People who lose their jobs and are registered with the pension fund will receive 2,000 dirhams ($203) a month and can put off debt payments until June 30.

Small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed people can also put off loan payments until June 30, while enterprises with annual turnover lower than 20 million dirhams ($2 million) can defer tax payments.

Morocco has closed all schools, mosques, cafes and restaurants, sports and entertainment venues and suspended all international passenger flights to combat the virus’ spread.

Abdellatif Kabbaj, head of the tourism association, said the sector stands to lose 34 billion dirhams ($3.5 billion) in revenue this year.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, editing by Angus McDowall and Catherine Evans

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