Weekly Digest on Impact on SMEs in EAP (10 July)


  • Armenia gets one-year customs tax break within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. Lower rates than the single EEU customs tariffs shall be applied in Armenia for more than 600 items of goods imported. https://bit.ly/2CgClbe
  • Another nationwide lockdown may be imposed if Armenian hospitals are no longer able to cope with the continuing spread of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian warned of lockdown as number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 30,000 in total. https://bit.ly/38zvMg2
  • Restaurant business is one of most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic having only up to 30% of its turnover that is not sufficient for survival. Vahe Gevorvyan, the Director of Armenian Restaurant Association, says even though some turned to e-marketing, 30% of restaurants had to shut down. https://bit.ly/2Z6mW6w
  • Kim Kardashian calls for joining the fundraising of the Armenia Support Fund to support small businesses in Armenia affected by the Covid-19. The Fund was established to take strategic initiatives impacting Armenians. https://bit.ly/3iDX6i1
  • Armenian banks provided 73 billion AMD (around US$ 150 million) as loans to offset the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Martin Galstyan, the Chairman of CB of Armenia noted the sum presents the loans within the frameworks of government programmes to combat the economic impact of Covid-19. https://bit.ly/2Ccmv1C


  • 41 businesses were closed in Azerbaijan during June. 5 of these businesses were affiliates of foreign-based companies. https://bit.ly/2O1zANJ
  • Azerbaijan’s government is not planning to allocate additional support packages for entrepreneurs suffered from pandemic, according to Shahmar Movsumov, assistant to the president. At the same time, he added, the list of entrepreneur categories receiving government support should be expanded, as more spheres of economy start to suffer from current situation. https://bit.ly/2VTg0aJ
  • On July 2, more than 28 thousand taxpayers had requested support from government to partially cover salaries of more than 270 thousand workers. These taxpayers had received nearly 95 million AZN ($56 million), including more than 47 million AZN ($27.7 million) of volume for the second month, economy ministry stated. Microentrepreneurs on July 2 made more than 117 thousand requests, and received nearly 63 million AZN ($37 million). https://bit.ly/38DffI3         


  • According to official figures, involuntary part-time employment increased 4 times in May. In June, 9 thousand people received monthly targeted social assistance in the amount of $ 38 in equivalent. And another 5 thousand people will get it in July. https://bitly.su/BAOIR
  • Three hundred companies were allowed to open accounts to receive non-repayable subsidies for paying out salaries to employees. Those who had to work part-time or be on hold received an average of $ 107 each. https://bitly.su/JteA
  • According to the National Bank, a consolidated economic sentiment index in the country rose to minus 6.8 points in June (in May it was minus 14). The greatest increase in demand for services in the fields of construction and industry. https://bitly.su/1fByoy
  • Overdue debts of individuals to banks as of June 1, 2020 increased by 35% compared to June 1, 2019 and amounted to $ 18 million. As of June 1, SMEs’ debt on long-term loans grew by 27% and amounted to $ 3.4 billion, and on short-term loans – by 8% (total – $ 1.4 billion). https://bitly.su/unKZGLe
  • The number of coronavirus infected people is still high in the country, local authorities began repealing COVID-19 preventive measures taken in March. Now in the cinemas of some regions there is no need to keep a distance of 1.5 m from each other, distance learning and pre-appointment to visit hairdressing salons have been canceled, and the bars will be able to work after 11 p.m. https://bitly.su/JC8N


  • The government of Georgia lifts restrictions on part of the business activities such as exhibition events, trainings, conferences in hotels as of July 6. Fitness centers and swimming pools will open after inspections by the Labor Conditions Inspection Department. https://bit.ly/3f9qvye
  • The Georgian government increases the crisis budget of the state Agency ‘Produce in Georgia’ up to half a billion GEL (about $0.17b) by 2020, which is 10 times more than the same indicator of 2019. Through the Agency, the government implements both universal and sectoral business-oriented anti-crisis programs for access to finance, to encourage local investments and attract foreign investments in the post-covid perspective, highlighting the country's priority sectors. https://bit.ly/2YZcqOo
  • Companies which collect grapes will be able to benefit from preferential agro-credit, starting with the 2020 autumn grape harvest amid the pandemic. The limit of the credit as well as agro leasing for food industry has increased from 5 million GEL (about $1.67m) to 10 million GEL (about $3.33m). Also, the interest rate of the leasing will be co-financed for 36 months instead of 24. (Business Media, https://bit.ly/38zVFg0 

The Republic of Moldova

  • In the last week of June, the National Public Health Agency carried out inspections in 194 units. As a result, 8 fines amounting to 31 thousand MDL (1800 USD) were applied, and it was decided to suspend the activity of 13 units (11 barbershops, 1 medical institution and 1 sport center) due to non-compliance with COVID-19 protection rules. https://bit.ly/2BL1yec
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed tourism in the Republic of Moldova. The number of visitors to the Soroca Fortress – one of the most visited tourist attractions – has decreased in recent months. Not only the number of visitors has dropped significantly, but also the revenue. If last year, the Fortress registered an income of 270 thousand MDL (15.6 thousand USD), this year, in two months of activity, only 7 thousand MDL (400 USD) were collected. https://bit.ly/31U5yUm
  • The government approved the “Business Support Program with High Growth Potential” scheduled for 2020-2023. The aim of the project is to support the SME sector with an important role in the development of the national economy and in job creation. The enterprises will benefit from continuous training, including a business voucher worth 50 thousand MDL (2900 USD). https://bit.ly/2VRpuna
  • More than 30 entrepreneurs from the Republic of Moldova benefited from an educational program on overcoming business crisis, carried out by ODIMM. Moreover, 5 local companies will benefit from business acceleration services, through which experts in the field will mentor entrepreneurs in the process of revitalizing or restructuring the business. https://bit.ly/3e8cf7Q


  • Ukraine’s economy fell 10% YoY in the second quarter, according to the consensus forecast of Reuter’s monthly poll of analysts. This would be the biggest drop since the 14.5% drop recorded in the second quarter of 2015, the economic aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in the industrial east. For this year, the economists forecast GDP will shrink 5.5% YoY in the third quarter and 3% in the fourth quarter. https://ubn.news/
  • “Trade is recovering most rapidly,” reports ICU investment bank. Retail trade in May was down only 3.1% yoy. Wholesale trade in May was up 2.2% YoY, estimates ICU. Softening the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on trade were the growth of e-commerce and the fact that half of spending in Ukraine is on food. Supermarkets remained open during the three month lockdown. https://ubn.news/
  • Retailers state the raise of sales 10-50% in various categories during 3 weeks of work after quarantine ease, accompanied by 20% drop in attendance. The drop is due to closed entertainment areas and food courts in shopping malls. https://interfax.com.ua/news/economic/672311.html
  • The Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to redirect 54% of the Stabilization Fund (Covid-19 Anti-Crisis Fund)  $1.3  billion for road construction and maintenance. The “Great Construction” programme is aimed at reconstruction of 4000 km of national roads with estimated thousands of new jobs. https://bit.ly/31UPFwU

EU4Business Updates

Docs in beekeeper suits: EU team helps the Dolyna hospital

the team of a Pioneer project supported by the EU under the auspices of the EU4Business initiative, began helping the main Dolyna hospital in its battle with COVID-19: they provided doctors with 80 protective suits and 5,000 facial masks, and also raised UAH 186,000  (around €6,000) for urgent needs.


EIB Group and Bank of Georgia join forces to support businesses in Georgia to better deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis

EIB Group signed guarantee agreement supported by InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility enabling Bank of Georgia to provide up to €60 million in loans to SMEs.


EBRD and donors help Georgia's women - run White Studio grow

Female entrepreneurs put the spotlight on Georgian ceramics with help from EBRD and its donors.