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Foreign Chambers of Commerce’s letter to Minister Mali on ease for SMEs

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Due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on the country’s economy, affecting the functioning of the big majority of the SMEs, 12 foreign chambers of commerce signed the following letter that was sent to Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali.

Content of the letter:

Sir,

The coronavirus pandemic has many consequences for public life, both from a health standpoint and from an economic and financial point of view.

Our bilateral organizations representing several thousand companies in Serbia have already received upsetting feedbacks from many of our members, especially SMEs.

Many SMEs are already impacted by the decline or total cessation of their activities and this trend will undoubtedly worsen in the coming weeks. These SMEs are the main job-creating companies in Serbia. They have established themselves in many business sectors, particularly in recent years, thanks to the significant improvement in the business climate.

The government of the Republic of Serbia and the National Bank of Serbia have already communicated on important measures which have been or will be implemented: maintenance of full salary in the event of telework during the state of emergency, reduction in the rate director of the NBS, a moratorium on the repayment of credits for 90 days… We welcome and thank you for these decisions.

Nonetheless, on behalf of our member companies present in Serbia which represent several hundreds of thousands of jobs, we consider that other measures must be taken urgently within the framework of a plan of support for the employees and the companies.
This plan should notably include:

– deferrals of tax and social charges for SMEs (such as decreasing lump sum tax obligation, relief of taxes and contributions on salary…),
– easier access to bank credits as well as direct support, in the form of a subsidy or repayable aid and liquidity guarantee schemes
We would also recommend special measures for hard-hit sectors (tourism and hospitality industry, cultural industry, international haulage…):
– cancelation of advance payment for corporate profit, and
– relief of taxes and contributions on salaries during the cessation of work
Many establishments are currently in great difficulty, having to ensure the payment of wages and social and fiscal charges while their activity has greatly reduced, or has even stopped, thus jeopardizing the maintenance of thousands of jobs.

Our bilateral chambers of commerce are at your disposal for any further information concerning the situation of our members.
Hoping that our letter will come to your understanding and approval,

Respectfully,

Presidents of bilateral organizations in Serbia:
Dragoljub Damljanović, French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
Ronald Zeliger, German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
Hugo Van Veghel, Belgian-Serbian Business Association
David Landsman, British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
Giorgio Marchegiani, Italo-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
Patrizio Dei Tos, Confindustria Serbia
Bojan Leković, Dutch-Serbian Economic Association
Stylianos Zakof, Hellenic Economic Association of Serbia
Marija Radulović, Croatian Business Club
Milan Brković, Polish-Serbian Business Association
Danijela Fišakov, Slovenian Business Club
Majo Mićović, Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce

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