About two months have passed since a new virus was confirmed in China – COVID-19. In a short time, this virus has spread in most states around the world, infecting about 182 thousand people and causing about 7 thousand deaths (report on March 17, 2020). Even though the danger seemed far away, Europe was also affected by COVID-19. The most affected countries are Italy (28 thousand cases), Spain (10 thousand cases), Germany and France (7 thousand cases), but also Romania (158 cases), Russia (90 infected) and the Republic of Moldova (29 cases).
Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering Johns Hopkins University;
March, 17th, 2020.
The global epidemic brings considerable economic losses, including the case of Moldova’s economy. In this period of severe uncertainty, the authorities must take a set of measures that will come both in defending the health of citizens, but also directly, in providing support for the business environment in the country, which is the driving force of the economy.
The impact caused by the spread of COVID-19 in the Republic of Moldova implies long-term painful effects for small and medium-sized enterprises. There is an increased risk of bankruptcy for many SMEs, which are already experiencing significant losses. The most affected industries are tourism, HoReCa, retailers, as well as those providing leisure services.
Worldwide Moldovan Business Association is concerned about the difficult economic situation which is going to be in Moldova. Thus, we propose the following measures to support entrepreneurs in the country:
- Extension of the payment period for income tax and VAT;
- Stopping payments of rates and interest for investment loans and for any other loans with a repayment schedule, for a minimum period of 90 days and rescheduling these debts for a minimum period of 6 months, without applying any additional costs or penalties;
- Establishment of non-reimbursable or interest-free financing lines for the payment of employees and suppliers to small and medium-sized enterprises directly affected;
- Allocation of financial resources from the state budget to finance the losses registered by the companies, as a result of the quarantine period;
- Granting government guarantees to companies to contract bank financing to support current activity;
- Period of grace or rescheduling of payments for communal services, without the provision of services being interrupted;
- Extension of the deadline for filing fiscal and statistical declarations, without applying sanctions.
The epidemic with COVID-19 is a story with an unclear end and still impossible to predict. What is certain is that human losses are already tragic and that decision makers must act immediately to protect their citizens from the challenges and risks they face and mitigate the consequences in every possible way.