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Iran offers new loans to workers left jobless by pandemic

Iran’s finance minister says two banks will start to offer cheap loans to workers left jobless by pandemic.

Iran’s finance minister says the government will provide new round of loans to workers left jobless by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ehsan Khandouzi said on Thursday that cheap loans will be on offer to workers who have lost their jobs and remain in hospital because of the coronavirus.

Khandouzi said two interest free banks will earmark the loans worth 100 million rial ($2,380 on official exchange rate) to household heads left jobless by the pandemic.

He said the finance ministry will fund the program which will start over the weekend.

A deputy head of the Iranian finance ministry also said on Thursday that the new loans will have a three-year repayment period and workers will have to submit easy collaterals to the banks in order to be able to receive the loans.

The new relief measure comes as the Iranian government has managed to significantly reduce the rate of coronavirus infections in the country through rolling out a massive vaccination program.

Daily number of deaths from the disease had dropped to nearly 70 from records of over 700 seen at the height of a fifth wave of the disease in mid-summer.

That has allowed the government to gradually reopen an economy that has suffered both because of the pandemic and also because of a series of unlawful sanctions imposed by the United States since 2018.

Official estimates published in early 2020 had suggested that more than 1.25 million workers had lost their jobs in Iran because of the pandemic. The government had been paying jobless benefits to 1.17 million people in March.

However, job market analysts believe the number of people left jobless by coronavirus in Iran could have amounted to nearly six millions at the height of the pandemic in mid 2020.

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