ZAGREB, March 17 (Reuters) - Croatia's government proposed on Tuesday to postpone tax payments for at least three months and make loans available to struggling business in response to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
"The goal of our economic measures is to save jobs and secure sufficient liquidity," Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic told a cabinet session. Parliament is expected to approve the measures this week.
The postponement of tax payments on profit and income, as well as other salary contributions, will be extended for an additional three months if needed.
Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said at the end of the six-month period, taxpayers would be able to pay overdue taxes in up to 24 monthly installments without any interest.
The government also announced favourable liquidity loans for businesses, with the help of European Union funds.
Croatia has so far reported 65 cases of coronavirus. Four people have recovered and no one has yet died from COVID-19.
Schools have been shut since Monday and Plenkovic said more measures were expected in the coming days, including closing cinemas, theatres, sports centres, restaurants, bars, shopping centres as well as shorter opening hours for some shops.
"Now it is time to take tougher measures to restrict social contacts," Plenkovic said.
Tourism, which accounts for more than 15% of Croatia's gross domestic product, is expected to be one of the sectors most exposed to the crisis as flight restrictions and lockdowns have hit airlines and the hospitality industry worldwide. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by David Clarke)