Sunday, July 3

Threats Shadowing Recovery

The small and medium businesses We face the year 2022 with concern and uncertainty. As we approach the second anniversary of the start of the pandemic, the reality is that the recovery has not yet arrived, because we cannot confuse the economic reactivation in which we are advancing with a true recovery.

An economic reactivation that, as I say, we are advancing, because it is strewn with setbacks; the pandemic itself and the outbreaks and new waves mainly, but also others such as the rising cost of energy and raw materials and the lack of supplies that, although they are punctual, are preventing a full reactivation and causing considerable damage to companies, especially in industry, which is the driving force behind other vital sectors of our economy.

What’s more, We warn of serious clouds that can weigh down companies even more. On the one hand, symptoms of a credit restriction are beginning to appear, motivated by the serious situation of the balance sheets of our companies, which will affect investment and recovery.

These difficulties in accessing financing are exacerbated by the persistence of high levels of non-performing loans, which, despite less activity, have not registered appreciable decreases. In the third quarter of 2021, seven out of ten bills are in arrears, a situation that affects SMEs to a greater extent, which are drowned by their fewer resources and lower negotiating capacity.

All these factors are hampering the recovery of Spanish companies which, in addition, during the pandemic have not received aid in compensation for the restrictions to the same extent that companies from other neighboring countries have done.

The result is a weaker business fabric, with more liquidity and solvency problems and less competitive, after these more than twenty months of crisis.

A business fabric made up almost entirely (99%) of small and medium-sized companies, whose size is also smaller than that of the neighboring countries. And that also generates problems of productivity and competitiveness, which we have to face by supporting business growth with courageous measures that reduce obstacles and give incentives to the growth of our companies.

Far from that, to the uncertainties and clouds mentioned are also added those derived from measures and policies that not only do not support the company, but also put it in the spotlight. The modification of the labor market to introduce greater rigidities, the announced tax reform that increases the burdens borne by companies, the increase in social contributions from 2023 envisaged in the pension reform … These are all measures that increase the costs of the companies, reduce flexibility in their management and penalize productive activity, which will ultimately affect the competitiveness of our companies and their ability to generate employment.

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We need a regulatory framework that looks at companies for what they are, the basis of progress, employment and the welfare state, not as an enemy to set limits and squeeze the most. The company needs freedom, not intervention by the public powers; it needs flexibility, not rigidity and it needs legal certainty, not this uncertainty in which we have settled.

In CEPYME We are convinced of this, and we will continue working so that SMEs, companies, are the axis of all policies, because they are the basis of the progress and well-being of our society.

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