THE Government should pass legislation promptly to save small and medium businesses hit by the covid19 crisis from the demands of unreasonable landlords, Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee has urged.
"If this government is truly serious about the survival of small and medium enterprises (SME), it must focus on giving legal protection to small businesses from the difficulties they face with loan repayments and rental payments caused by this economic downturn."
Saying SMEs face a nightmare as never seen before due to the prevailing crisis, Lee urged the Government to bring legislation to Parliament to prevent the destruction of small businesses and save the thousands of jobs they provide.
"At present, hundreds of businesses face permanent closure as the government’s tactic of moral suasion to financial institutions and landlords as well as the other economic cushions to protect businesses during this covid19 crisis have failed.
"It is troubling that six weeks after the Prime Minister promised that financial institutions would assist firms during this crisis, many business owners and chambers are publicly complaining that banks as well as insurance companies have offered no significant waivers while some landlords are still seeking rental payments despite the inability to operate."
The only solid solution to this "dire" situation, he said, is a legal moratorium on loans for small businesses, allowing their capital to be protected so they can restart when the lockdown is over.
"Further, the Government must consider legislation which will protect businesses that are renters by calling on landlords to offer waivers and preventing them from seizing or levying on property due to the inability to pay rent in this period of crisis."
He said these measures are critical, as they will not only give the businesses the breathing space they need “to get back on their feet” after the lockdown, but will also protect jobs and the national economic recovery.