The Macau Economic Bureau (DSE) has received 2,500 applications and 7,000 queries related to the various support measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the outbreak of coronavirus between 1 February and 2 March, according to official information.

The DSE noted in a statement issued on Monday it had reinforced its team to analyse the applications received and several electronic channels are being sued to facilitate the submission of applications and consultations by citizens.

The DSE has resumed its normal operation, similarly to other Macau’s other public services, but has called for entrepreneurs who wish to apply to plans and support measures for SMEs, as much as possible, submit their application and look up information via the internet.

Through the “Plan for Support to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises” each qualified SME will be granted 0% interest loan, of up to 600,000 patacas, with a maximum repayment period of eight years. So far, of the 1,328 applications made, 446 have been analysed and 344 approved.

The “Plan for Credit Guarantees for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises” provides a guarantee for 70% of bank loans in order to support local SMEs in securing bank financing. The maximum bank loan that can be requested is 7 million patacas and the maximum guarante3ed amount is 4.9 million patacas.

The DSE said that this support plan had received 14 applications, one of which has been approved.

The majority of applications were for the “Adjustment Measure for Reimbursement,” under which the beneficiary companies of the three types of support from the DSE – young entrepreneurs, SMEs and SMEs affected by typhoon Hato – can reduce their next installment to a minimum of 1,000 patacas.

This measure received 1,151 proposals, of which 1,081 were approved, according to the DSE.

Many SMEs in Macau, particularly those operating in the catering and retail sectors, have been seriously affected by the huge drop in the number of visitors to the territory, particularly from mainland China, as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19, whose epicentre was in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province.