Mar 26 (.) – The Paraguayan government announced that it will contract loans with multilateral organizations and issue bonds in international markets after obtaining authorization from Congress to contract debts of $ 1.6 billion, amid the crisis caused by the coronavirus.

The Paraguayan Legislative passed an emergency law on Wednesday night that authorizes exceptional economic measures after the paralysis of a large part of commerce and services due to the quarantine decreed to contain the spread of the virus.

“We have advanced conversations with the World Bank, CAF (the Development Bank of Latin America) and the Inter-American Development Bank that are going to incorporate part of the necessary liquidity,” Finance Minister Benigno López told Paraguayan television. .

“And we are going to go out to international markets,” he added.

López explained that while the efforts are progressing, the Government has secured a line with the Central Bank of Paraguay.

“Liquidity is assured, the challenge is to use it efficiently because nobody knows what will happen. This is an unprecedented situation, “he said.

The approved rule also contemplates a subsidy for informal workers, a moratorium on the payment of taxes and exemption from the payment of services such as drinking water, electricity and fixed telephony for three months for the lowest consumption bracket.

It also foresees the hiring of a greater number of personnel for the health sector, which will receive more budget and a special bonus at the end of the year.

With a population of 6.8 million inhabitants, Paraguay has 41 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus and three deaths, but the country’s health authorities have admitted that they are seeing “the tip of the iceberg” due to their poor ability to apply the tests. .

Several legislators agreed on the need to provide more resources to the weak Paraguayan health system to face the crisis. “Surely those of us who are going to save the least lives are going to be us (Paraguay), if we keep 1,000 beds and 400 respirators,” said opposition deputy Celeste Amarilla.

The finance ministry said that the application of the law would raise the deficit to between 4 and 5% from the current 1.5% and the country will need about 4 years to resume the fiscal line.

(Report by Daniela Desantis, Edited by Juana Casas)