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Chile announced $2B package to help recover and create new jobs

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (C) arrives to make an announcement at the La Moneda Presidential Palace in Santiago, Chile, on Oct. 30, 2019. Pinera announced Wednesday that Chile will suspend hosting the APEC summit and the COP25 climate summit, due to ongoing social crisis in the South American country. (Sebastian Beltran Gaete/Agencia Uno via Xinhua). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SANTIAGO, Sep 29, 2020, Merco Press. Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announced on Sunday the launch of US$ 2 billion in subsidies aimed at creating new jobs or recovering those lost during months of lockdown aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic in the globe’s top copper producer, Merco Press reported.

Piñera said the government would pay private businesses up to 50%, or as much as US$ 317 of the salaries of any newly hired employee for the next six months. A similar program will cover up to around US$ 200 of the salaries of employees who return to work after a furlough period during the coronavirus crisis.

The package, which seeks to create 1 million new jobs, is the latest round of stimulus aimed at revitalizing Chile’s frail economy.

Piñera’s center-right government has in recent months announced emergency measures responding to the pandemic including spot payments, soft loans, mortgage payment holidays and rent subsidies worth more than 12% of gross domestic product.

The lockdown associated with the virus has hammered Chile’s commerce, service and tourism sectors and driven unemployment to over 13%, its highest level in a decade. The central bank projects an economic contraction of between 4.5% to 5.5% this year.

Piñera said his plan was aimed especially at groups hardest hit by jobless during the pandemic, including women, young people and those with disabilities. Businesses hiring people from those three groups could count on the government to subsidize as much as 60% of their salaries in the coming months, he said.

Chile’s coronavirus outbreak peaked in June. Since then, quarantine measures and other restrictions have seen cases nationwide fall to fewer than 2,000 daily.

Chile has reported over 455,000 cases of the virus since the pandemic struck in March and 12,600 deaths.

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