Trump approves 5-week extension for small business pandemic loan applications

US President Donald Trump talks about a US jobs report amid the Covid-19 pandemic while signing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 at the White House in Washington June 5, 2020. — Reuters pic
US President Donald Trump talks about a US jobs report amid the Covid-19 pandemic while signing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 at the White House in Washington June 5, 2020. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, July 5 — US President Donald Trump yesterday signed into law a deadline extension to August 8 for small businesses to apply for relief loans under a federal aid programme to help businesses hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic, the White House said.

The extension to the Payroll Protection Programme (PPP), which was launched in April to keep Americans on company payrolls and off unemployment assistance, gives business owners an additional five weeks to apply for funding assistance plagued by problems.

An estimated US$130 billion (RM557 billion) of the US$659 billion provided by Congress is still up for grabs. Critics worry the US Small Business Administrator's office, which administers the loan, may continue to experience challenges in fairly distributing the funds.

From the outset, the unprecedented first-come-first-served programme struggled with technology and paperwork problems that led some businesses to miss out while some affluent firms got funds.

The SBA's inspector general found in May that some rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received loans due to a lack of prioritization from the agency.

Reuters reported on Thursday that a technical snafu in a US government system caused many small businesses to receive loans twice or more times, nearly a dozen people with knowledge of the matter said. — Reuters

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