Sydney, Australia, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- The Australian government on Friday reduced from 6.5 to 3.5 million the number of affected workers who will benefit from the aid granted in light of the COVID-19 crisis, upon discovering an error in the application for subsidies by 1,000 companies.
The Australian Treasury office attributed the downward revision to an “information error in calculating the number of workers who would access the Jobkeeper program” that originated because 1,000 companies were wrong to provide data on affected workers.
The revised figure the government will allocate to the subsidies will be AUD 70 billion ($45 billion), compared to AUD 130 billion budgeted in April for the program that encourages companies to continue paying wages during the COVID-19 crisis.
“This is good news for the taxpayer because the Jobkeeper program, like all our economic initiatives for the coronavirus, involves borrowed money,” the head of the Australian Treasury office, Josh Frydenberg, told the local ABC network.
Government aid in Australia for the pandemic amounts to AUD 320 billion mainly in economic stimuli, equivalent to 16.4 percent of its GDP, while its public debt is calculated in 379,200 million Australian dollars (247,089 million dollars or 226,289 million euros) for June of next year, according to official data.
The Australian Federal Reserve Bank estimates that GDP will drop 6 percent during 2020 and the unemployment rate may reach 10 percent.
Before the pandemic, the country had recorded 30 years of consecutive economic growth, but is expected to go into recession this year.
With some 7,100 cases, including 101 deaths, Australia has already started to resume its economic activities with a view on fully normalizing them by July. EFE-EPA