China has allowed 23,000 enterprises to defer a total of 7.11 billion yuan (about 1.05 billion U.S. dollars) of housing provident fund contributions as of July 20, an official said on Thursday.

A supportive policy allowing the deferral of housing provident fund payments was rolled out in May and has helped enterprises and individuals tide over difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Wang Shengjun, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Enterprises affected by the pandemic can apply to postpone payments of housing provident fund contributions under the new rules and make deferred payments at a later date, according to a circular released on May 24 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance and the People’s Bank of China.

It also noted that for depositors who fail to pay contributions within the stipulated time due to the impact of COVID-19, their deferrals will not be reported to the credit administration as instances of loan delinquency.

Originally published by Xinhua