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Swiss consult on how to pay down COVID-19 debts

·1-min read
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Lausanne

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland has launched a consultation process to consider how to pay down coronavirus-related debts, which are expected to push the country's extraordinary budget 25 billion Swiss francs ($27.36 billion) into the red by the end of 2022.

Switzerland has been funnelling billions of francs into wage replacement schemes and emergency loans for companies hard hit by the crisis.

Two repayment options are being considered, including paying down the debt over the medium term with future budget surpluses. Switzerland is expected to post a structural surplus of 0.6 billion Swiss francs next year.

Another option is to pay down only half of the debt.

Both options can be implemented without resorting to drastic spending cuts, the government said, while increased payouts by the Swiss National Bank are helping to reduce debts.

The consultation will run until the end of November. After consideration by the Swiss cabinet and parliament, the proposals are expected to come into force in 2023, the government said.

($1 = 0.9138 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Revill; editing by Michael Shields)

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