COVID-19: Weekly Digest on Impact on SMEs in EAP (July 24, 2020)


  • SMEs in tourism sector may keep the tickets for the museums and national parks bought in advance as they will be valid until the end of 2021. Arayik Harutyunyan, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport announced that tickets unused due to Covid-19 will be valid during the whole 2021. Read more
  • The restaurant business in Armenia is about to collapse. According to the President of the Armenian Restaurant Association, Vahe Gevorgyan, the restaurant business is operating at 30% of its capacity, so immediate action should be taken to prevent serious damage to the sector. Read more


  • To date, over 353 million AZN ($208 million) was allocated by the government to support Azerbaijani entrepreneurs. The total support package amounts to is 900 million AZN ($530 million). So far, Azerbaijani taxpayers received 95.6 million AZN ($56.27 million) from the government to partially cover salaries of workers, 63 million AZN ($37 million) was received by microentrepreneurs. Read more
  • The special quarantine regime was extended in Azerbaijan until August 31. The strict quarantine regime will continue in Baku and a number of other cities and districts until August 5. Some of its conditions were softened –hairdressers and beauty salons as well as rendering cosmetic services, except for massage parlors and baths, are allowed from July 20. Activities of cafes and restaurants is still prohibited. Read more
  • Azerbaijan’s GDP amounted to 33.8 billion AZN ($19.9 billion) during the first half of 2020, a 2.7% decrease YoY. Total share of the non-oil sector in GDP during the reporting period amounted to 23.04 billion AZN ($13.56 billion) (a 2.5% decrease). Read more


  • As of July 16, businesses received anti-pandemic” assistance amounting to about $22.5 million. 1,266 business entities received tax benefits, 3,562 tenants received state lease incentives, and 34,400 individual entrepreneurs received reduction in the single tax rates for the second and third quarters. According to the Confederation of Entrepreneurs, only a few SMEs have received assistance as 70% were not aware of the support measures or did not meet the criteria. Read more
  • Many business sectors badly hit by the pandemic (for example, tourism) believe that the only real help they have received is a standstill on the principal amount of bank loans. Read more
  • During the pandemic, bank customers delayed loan payments, and banks raised interest rates 2-3 times in addition to fines and penalties. The National Bank has forbidden to do so, otherwise the whole point of such sanctions – loan repayment – comes to naught. Read more


  • Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the profit tax paid by private businesses in the country decreased by 56% in June, reports the State Treasury. The amount of VAT revenues also decreased by 11.4%, which is directly related to the sharp decline in business sector’s turnover and economic activity. Read more
  • Tourism revenues are down by 97% in June, shows the report by the National Tourism Administration of Georgia. A total of 38,000 foreigners had crossed the country’s border in the last month, 95.8% less comparing to the same period of the last year. Read more
  • The Government's top priority today is to minimize the impact of the crisis on the economy and business and, more importantly, to create new jobs despite the crisis, PM of Georgia notes. Read more
  • Tbilisi City Hall launches an alternative sales web portal to support the economic activity of small and medium travel companies most affected by the pandemic to increase revenues and awareness, as well as to activate domestic tourism. This is an online platform detailing tourist guides, food facilities, wine bars, concept shops and many more. It is free to place information about products and services in Georgian and English. Read more

The Republic of Moldova

  • The crisis caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on Moldova's trade. The National Bureau of Statistics informs that, exports of goods in May 2020 amounted to $155.7 million, which is 3.9% more than the previous month and 26% less compared to May 2019. Read more
  • A VAT Refund Programme has been launched. The reimbursement period is between May 2020 (the month when the state of emergency was lifted) and December 2020. Thus, during the crisis, economic agents have the possibility to capitalize on the deducted VAT balance. Read more
  • The Council of Europe Development Bank will provide Moldova with a loan of 70 million EUR in the frame of the “Emergency response to COVID-19 and support for the SME sector” project. The component “Support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises” is estimated at 30 million EUR, a 7 year loan. Read more
  • Enterprises that went into bankruptcy but are now viable will be able to restore their financial situation. To this end, the Parliament has passed a series of amendments to the Law on Insolvency in the final reading. The new amendments are aimed at supporting companies in financial difficulty or going into bankruptcy, enabling out of court restructuring of companies, streamlining the financial circuit and access to finance for economic agents. Read more


  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has launched an interactive online map of the world for planning trips abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help Ukrainians plan their vacations abroad as well as the work of tourist agencies. The online map project has been supported by the British government and the UN. Read more
  • The National Bank of Ukraine plans to ease requirements for borrowers of commercial banks including SMEs to stimulate the economy. The priority for lowering requirements will be given to business with a clear tax history and tax reporting. Read more
  • The Government has abolished rent fee for renters of municipal facilities for the quarantine period. The list of businesses includes publishing houses, printing services, private education businesses, sport and physical training facilities, etc. 50% discount will be applied for art and books exhibitions, traders of secondhand and commercial goods. 25% discount for cafes and canteens. Read more
  • The Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs has launched #Exporthub, a B2B consulting programme to support exporters and SMEs willing to enter new markets. The programme will consist of a series of online and offline meetups with pre-defined topics for discussion and consultations. Read more
  • The Ukrainian State Fund for Support of Farmers has announced a competition for getting financial support of up to 500,000 UAH (15,800 EUR) for 5 years. The applicants should not be in the liquidation process and should not have debts. The contest is open till 19 September 2020. Read more

EU4Business Updates

  • EU4Business Initiative helps Armenian fashion industry overcome COVID-19 challenges
    A six-day seminar supported by the EU’s EU4Business initiative helped 40 participants from 23 SMEs of fashion industry to switch to the online platforms to overcome Covid-19 pandemic economic circumstances and participate in an online expo. Read more
  • EU provides €105 million to Ukraine to support SMEs, small farms and implementation of reforms 
    Three new financing agreements between the European Union and Ukraine were signed on 13 July, in a €105 million package to support Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), agriculture and small farm development and Ukrainian public authorities in the implementation of key reforms. These programmes will also contribute to the mitigation of the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 and ensure further support to the health sector. Read more