Two medical workers travel along the Bund in Shanghai after finishing work late at night. (ZHU XINGXIN / CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING – Chinese authorities have recently announced a new payment deferral of social insurance premiums for the sectors severely hit by the COVID-19 outbreaks, as the latest move to alleviate the financial burden of these industries.

The country has planned to temporarily defer the premium payments of old-age insurance, unemployment insurance, and workplace injury insurance for the hard-hit catering, retail, tourism, civil aviation, highway, waterway and railway transportation industries, according to a statement jointly released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the State Taxation Administration (STA).

Individual businesses and workers in flexible employment that have difficulties in paying basic old-age insurance premiums in 2022 are allowed to defer the payments until the end of 2023, Zheng Wenmin, an official with the STA told a press conference Thursday.

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The policies are expected to pump up over 80 billion yuan (about $11.89 billion) of cash flows for firms and individuals, and play an underpinning role in relieving cash strains for smaller firms and stabilizing employment, Zheng said.