April 9, 2020 / 5:42 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Uzbek president orders $3.1 bln central bank support package

(Adds context, details)

TASHKENT, April 9 (Reuters) - Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ordered the central bank on Thursday to provide 30 trillion sum ($3.1 billion) to banks to support local producers’ working capital, his office said.

The move is designed to help companies maintain output despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it said in a statement.

The Central Asian nation of 34 million has locked down all of its provinces and some major cities to curb the spread of the virus which has infected 582 people, three of whom have died.

Its economy is also taking a hit from the plunge in energy prices due to its dependence on gas exports and remittances from millions of Uzbeks working in Russia, a major oil exporter.

To soften the impact, banks - which have already implemented a standstill on consumer loans - must focus on projects that create jobs and consider extending special loans to help companies pay wages and salaries, Mirziyoyev said. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; writing by Olzhas Auyezov, Editing by William Maclean, Kirsten Donovan)

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