According to Dragana Stanojevic, director of USAID’s cooperation for growth project, “since the beginning of the crisis, more than 900 companies have been at a standstill, 1,500 companies have had to cut production significantly or stop it altogether, and about 125,000 workers have been sent on forced leave because of the epidemic. SMEs are facing the biggest challenges during this crisis”.
The survey on the biggest challenges for companies during the epidemic was conducted by USAID in collaboration with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. The survey was conducted from 27 to 31 March and will be repeated after Easter. The survey included 806 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Serbia.
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According to the survey, the largest companies said they could recover their losses within a period of three months, or perhaps three to six months. More specifically, 42% said they could recover in the short term.
“However, 3% of companies think they will not return to normal business activities after this pandemic. Since another survey will be carried out after Easter, we will see if something has changed while the crisis continues,” said Stanojevic.
The biggest blow to companies was the cancellation of orders with companies giving it a score of 3.9 (on the scale of 1 to 5), followed by the inability to cover expenses, reduced working hours and the inability to collect debts.
For the tertiary sector, the greatest losses are expected in the tourism and catering sector (45.5%), other services (39.2%), as well as scientific, innovation, technical and administrative activities (31%).
The absolute majority of respondents, 97%, expect difficulties in collecting the financial aid promised by the state and only 3% of the surveyed companies, mainly small businesses in the IT sector, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises in the industrial sector, do not expect any change.
This post is also available in: Italiano