SCIO briefing on work of supporting the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and assisting self-employed business owners

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on Feb. 27 in Beijing to introduce the work supporting the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and assisting self-employed business owners. February 28, 2020


During the epidemic, the operations of many self-employed business owners and their businesses have been greatly affected. I would like to ask, are there any relevant policies to help support them? Thank you.

Tang Jun:

As I introduced earlier; the State Council has made a decision and will soon issue a series of policies and measures. These policies and measures are designed to meet the actual needs of self-employed business owners and truly help them solve practical difficulties. To formulate these policies, we have surveyed individual businesses through online questionnaires and onsite visits. Based on our research, we know the main difficulties faced by individual business owners. First, it is relatively difficult to resume work and production for them, as it is very hard to sell their products. They can't make money. Second, the pressure on rigid expenditure is relatively high. In addition to labor costs, there are rents and utilities fees. As far as we know, the rent and utility bills of snack shops account for about 50% of the total operating cost. For larger restaurants, rent and utilities account for around 15% to 20% of the total operating cost. As for barbershops, clothing stores, small grocery stores and so on, rent and utilities account for about 30% of the total cost. Third, their liquidity is stretched, and of course there are other difficulties.

The State Council has formulated a series of highly targeted policies and measures in response to the challenges and difficulties of self-employed business owners. To support them to resume work and production as soon as possible, the State Council emphasizes the need to strictly implement the policies by region, classification, industry, business format and form.

To help reduce the operating costs of self-employed business owners, our departments have developed a series of policies. To help increase financial support, our responsible comrades at the People's Bank of China has just instructed financial institutions to increase low-interest loans and provide targeted support to them.

In terms of social insurance, self-employed business owners who are insured by company standards for their pensions, unemployment and work-related injury insurances are subject to the deduction and exemption policy enjoyed by small, medium and micro enterprises.

In terms of taxation, from March 1 to May 31, 2020, value-added tax will be exempted for small-scale value-added taxpayers (including individual businesses and small- and micro-enterprises) in Hubei province. The levy rate for small-scale taxpayers in other regions has been reduced from 3% to 1%.

Rents are still a big expense for self-employed business owners. Local governments must formulate tax reduction and exemption policies, especially for individual businesses that rent their sites from administrative departments and state-owned enterprises. Local governments are encouraged to reduce rents based on actual situations. When renting operating houses or booths from other sources, the relevant local governments should introduce relevant preferential and incentive policies to encourage property owners to reduce or exempt rents for tenants.

In terms of facilitating self-employed business owners' entry into the market, the State Administration for Market Regulation proposes to facilitate registration and make full use of electronic means to provide registration services for individual businesses. At the same time, the deadline for annual reports of individual businesses has been extended from the end of June to the end of this year. Local governments at all levels should establish and improve their management systems for negative business sites as soon as possible, further release the resources of business sites, and better meet the actual needs of self-employed business owners for entrepreneurship and employment.

In terms of enhancing the services provided to self-employed business owners, in the first half of 2020, the "non-stop supplies despite fees arrears" measure will be implemented for individual businesses unable to pay their utilities fees, such as electricity and gas, due to the impact of the epidemic. For self-employed business owners in industries that are severely affected by the epidemic, such as trade, catering and food, the prices of electricity and gas will be reduced via cost reduction policies issued by the central government in phases. At the same time, we must give full play to the role of associations such as the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and the China Private-Owned Business Association for their coordination and communication functions. They can carry out measures to protect individuals' rights and interests, help publicity and education, and promote economic and trade exchanges, so as to solve their problems. We also encourage internet platforms to actively fulfill their social responsibilities, relax entry conditions, reduce platform costs, and help individual businesses expand their business models. Thank you.

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