The association that protects small business owners of Serbia has sent a public letter to the Government of Serbia, the Crisis Unit and the Minister of Health regarding the epidemiological measures that have been in force for the past few days, evaluating them as “discriminatory and exclusively to the detriment of small local businesses”.
In the letter, the Association members asked a series of questions for which they expect answers after the next meeting of the Crisis Unit:
“Why do you allow large shops (which are mostly foreign-owned) to sell all kinds of goods under the guise of selling food, which gives rise to unfair competition for local shops which are unable to work, and generates extra profits for large retail chains? Slovenia and France now this distinction and have closed those shops that do not sell food. In this way, you show that the law is not the same for everyone.
Why have you closed small stores that are not crowded and allowed supermarkets to be open, which can take a lot of shoppers and also sell clothes, flowers, tools, etc., apart from food, while others are not allowed to do so? In this way, the Crisis Unit loses credibility because its measures are absurd and illogical.
Why are over-the-counter retail activities prohibited when we can see long queues in front of supermarkets too? Why do inspections allow over-the-counter sales at McDonald’s while other establishments that sell over-the-counter food are closed?
Why, in proportion to the restrictive measures, are taxes not reduced for those small businesses that have to temporarily close due to the epidemiological measures? Why should a hairdresser pay taxes when they are ordered to close on both weekdays and weekends?
Why, after a year of restricting the working hours of restaurateurs and events, which have been adhering to all epidemiological requirements and which have been unfairly and unjustifiably labelled as the sources of the virus outbreaks on several occasions, the number of infected people is still on the rise? Maybe other establishments, like supermarkets, factories, funerals of public figures, public transport and the like, are actual sources of the virus outbreak?
Why, in the midst of a pandemic, do you still charge interest rates and crack down with the help of overly zealous inspectors only small businesses? At the same time, however, civil servants are paid their salaries in full even when they are not working. This demonstrates a lack of solidarity with those businesses which have been generously funding the inefficient and unprofessional state bureaucracy for years through excessive levies.
We expect the rules to be the same for everyone, for the system to be regulated in such a way that state services begin to act professionally and efficiently, and not treat us like second-class citizens in our country,” the Association concludes.
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