LatinNews Daily - 27 May 2021

In brief: Chile extends emergency social spending programme

* Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera has announced the extension of the emergency financial aid that the government has been providing to households and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that have seen their incomes affected due to the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Piñera said that under the new package, the government would provide US$10.8bn in aid to these sectors through the payment of a Cl$1m (US$1,370) bonus to some 300,000 SMEs; and the expansion of the universal emergency family income (IFE) scheme that pays out up to Cl$887,000 a month to low-income households. Piñera said that the IFE would now be extended to all households that are eligible to receive social benefits except for those in the top 10% income bracket (those that earn over Cl$800,000) and will be disbursed for the next three months. “This state aid will mean that no family will fall below the poverty line”, Piñera said of the new aid package. However, the political opposition has criticised the programme insisting that it is “insufficient” to offset the economic damage caused by the pandemic.