By Lovasoa Rabary
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) – Madagascar has announced a stimulus package offering close to a million small businesses secure loans at below market rates to help weather the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the government said.
President Andry Rajoelina rolled out a total of 280 billion ariary ($73 million) in three loan tranches with interest rates ranging from 4.97% to 9% and repayment periods of 6-24 months, the government said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The government says commercial bank interest rates range from 20% to 40%.
The loans will help cushion more than 980,000 businesses such as small farmers and agricultural distributors, and those in the tourism, commerce, crafts and manufacturing sectors, the government said.
So far the country has recorded 1,378 cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths.
($1 = 3,840.0000 Malagasy ariary)
(Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary, Writing by Giulia Paravicini, Editing by George Obulutsa, Kirsten Donovan)