Source: eKapija | Thursday, 23.07.2020.| 14:40
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In what state is the Serbian economy meeting the new measures? – Payment deadlines extended, “everyone owes everyone”, salaries to be reduced

Illustration (Photo: Ralf Kleemann/shutterstock.com)
A drop in sales in the local production sector compared to June 2019 is 19-32% and it is now clear that the crisis of demand on the European level has spilled over into Serbia, Dragoljub Rajic of the Business Support Network said for eKapija and added that the new measures might help keep jobs for a while, at least to a certain extent, but that any company with a drop of over 25% would find it very difficult to retain the employees and the trust.

– We are seeing that a drop in the demand is becoming chronic and not acute. There was a state of emergency here, so we experienced an even bigger drop then because of the restrictions that were imposed. Now we have for the first time an overview of a month when there was no state of emergency in effect and we can see that, unfortunately, what we predicted is happening. The first measure will certainly be a reduction of salaries, which has already started – Rajic says.

He also says that an important problem is that the payment deadlines have been extended.

– We had payment deadlines of over 100 days even before all this. However, now everyone owes everyone and small and medium companies are in trouble, because they can't afford to wait for the money too long. The June salaries are already late in some companies, as they can't collect enough money.

The survey carried out by the Business Support Network covered 110 companies and shows that the biggest drop is in the automotive industry, 27-30%, followed by the mechanical and the metal industry, with a drop of 20-22%, as well as the textile industry, where the drop is 21-22%.

Because there has been a negative impact on the producers, the service sector has recorded a drop as well.

– There's a danger of 10,000-15,000 small service companies shutting down while waiting to collect their payments. Some haven't been able to do so even before the crisis, since March, and there has been minimal or no income for months – he says.

He adds that any form of support means something to the most jeopardized companies, but that the only global solution for the crisis is a vaccine, which is not likely to come that soon.

– If a vaccine appears in September or October, the whole autumn will pass until the population is vaccinated, but that can still be an encouragement for the beginning of the next year – he believes.

In that sense, he points out, it would be useful for companies to enter the next year without charges.

– It would be very useful for the economy if the state tried to find a way for taxes and contributions to be written off. That would give hope to companies to be able to operate without the burden of liabilities that would become due in 2021 – Rajic said.

Ivana Milovanovic

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