Low-cost loans to be made available to SME exporters under a new Government plan could be significantly cheaper than anything currently available on the market.
If the loans are priced at a similar rate to funding available to farmers under a special scheme announced in the last budget, the interest cost could be about 3 per cent. At present the average cost of SME loans in Ireland is over 6.5 per cent, more than twice the euro zone average.
According to Fergal O’Brien, chief economist at Ibec, the cost of credit “is a significant competitiveness challenge for Irish SMEs, and measures to support lower-cost loans would support those firms likely to be most affected by Brexit”.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said recently that the Government had applied to the European Commission for State aid clearance for a scheme which would be available to SME exporters hit in the run-up to Brexit and after Brexit takes place.
He said the loans would be similar to €150 million of funding
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