The delay or cancellation of orders, inability to cover basic operating costs, limited working hours, inability to collect money owed, lack of liquidity and difficulties in logistics and distribution are the biggest problems for the business community in Serbia during the epidemic and the state of emergency – said Mihailo Vesovic, Director of Strategic Analysis, Services and Internationalization Division of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), in an interview with Business Magazine.
Vesovic added that the PKS survey showed that, at the end of March, one in three companies had expected a loss of revenue of more than 80% and others of more than 50%.
“The world is facing an unprecedented global crisis, the entire economic system is paralyzed and the Serbian economy is also facing many problems: delays and cancellations of orders, illiquidity problems, work bans…Tourism, hospitality and passenger transport were the first to be affected and now, practically, they are at a standstill. Over time, the crisis has spilt over into the manufacturing sector and a significant number of companies have stopped or reduced production,” he underlined.
Vesovic also said that companies with lower economic potential were the most vulnerable and that it was difficult to estimate the extent of the damage now, although for many companies the damage was total, simply because they cannot work, although “the economic measures of the state should help them significantly to maintain the number of employees and liquidity while these exceptional circumstances persist”.
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Even large companies globally are not yet coming up with their loss projections, because the situation is changing rapidly and nobody knows exactly how long the crisis will last.
Vesovic also said recalled that the Chamber of Commerce immediately took action to provide assistance and support to companies.
When asked which sector had requested help the most, he said that it was small businesses and the most common questions concern the emergency measures of the Serbian government, the conditions for state support through the Economic Measures Programme, the purchase of protective equipment, the organization of work during the curfew and the treatment of goods at border crossings.
“One in three companies, or 33.9% of the survey respondents, estimated, at the beginning of April, a loss of revenue of more than 80% and all the others of more than 50%. Furthermore, about 30% of companies expect difficulties in fulfilling their financial obligations within the first 30 days, while about 50% of companies expect to have problems within 30-60 or 90 days,” said Vesovic.
“41.5% of businesses indicated that it would take them one to three months to return to the normal business level if the crisis subsided at the beginning of April. A similar number of companies estimated that it would take them between three months and one year. Only 14% of companies could return to normal business in less than a month, while 5% of businesses thought it would take more than a year,” concluded Vesovic.
This post is also available in: Italiano