Tunisia: New Support Programme for SMEs in Automotive and Aeronautics Sectors Affected By Coronavirus Launched

Tunis/Tunisia — "Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the automotive and aeronautics sectors and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from a new support programme," said Thursday, Director-General of the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII), Omar Bouzouada.

He said at a press conference held at the headquarters of the APII in Tunis, that this 26-month programme, (July 2020-August 2022), has a budget of 800 thousand euros (2563.52 thousand dinars) including 675 thousand euros (equivalent to 2167 thousand dinars) for SMEs.

The programme consists of the reimbursement of expenses incurred in carrying out measures to protect employees against this pandemic and to improve their working conditions.

The APII DG explained that this programme, implemented by the GIZ in partnership with the Ministry of Industry and SMEs, is part of the project: "Partnerships for employment and support to medium-sized enterprises".

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the special training and employment initiative and managed by the APII, this programme aims to help deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic by consolidating efforts to support SMEs through measures to protect employees and reimburse associated expenses in the automotive and aeronautical sectors.

It also aims to improve workplace safety and maintain employment in the automotive and aeronautics sectors.

The companies eligible for this programme are those operating in the automotive components (employing between 50 and 250 employees) and aeronautical components sectors (employing between 20 and 250 employees) and which have been in production for at least two years before the start of the pandemic.

The APII DG stressed that the rate of decline in the turnover of these companies in March 2020 must not be less than 25% compared to March 2019 or 40% in April 2020 compared to April 2019, noting that this decline must be linked to the exceptional situation resulting from the extension of Covid-19 .

He added that interested companies can join the programme online through the following link: http://www.tunisieindustrie.nat.tn/fr/appui_pme.asp.

For his part, Minister of Industry and SMEs, Salah Ben Youssef said that the support programme for SMEs operating in the automotive and aeronautics sectors will help to save as many jobs as possible, especially in a difficult economic climate marked by the spread of covid-19.

He pointed out that the Tunisian industrial fabric includes more than 80 firms operating in the aeronautics sector with more than 17 000 jobs (technicians and engineers) and 280 firms operating in the automobile sector with more than 94, 000 jobs.

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