THE economic impact of businesses closing and the general economic slowdown due to the covid19 pandemic, is already evident but can be considerably cushioned, especially for the working-class, if government makes good on its promise to help with employee retainment, an updated survey from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) has found.
The responses to the second such survey, conducted between April 22-30, with 109 responding companies, across 14 industries, saw a stark disproportion of companies indicating that they have not received any type of relief from the Government or from government institutions.
Only six per cent said they received relief from the government in the form of payment of outstanding VAT refunds. The chamber has been quick to note, however, that, “It is possible that this number is skewed by the fact that a little more than half of respondents submitted their answers in the first week of the survey period,” and may be somewhat different from latest figures.
It noted, in addition to a mostly considerable decline in sales, just over two-thirds indicated they experienced issues with cash flow; three-fifths experienced supply chain disruption; and, nearly half reported a disruption in business due to employees being unable to work.
Some effects otherwise identified were limited operations and reduced efficiency due to being off-site; a reduced demand from clients, given a decrease in their own demand and revenue; difficulty accessing support services; an inability to collect receivables (particularly, clients being unable to pay); and rise in cost of raw materials and other day-to-day items.
The follow-up survey also notably found that, in order to weather the covid19 disruptions, nearly two-thirds of businesses require a waiver from interest for current tax payments (63 per cent) and just over half will rely on the payment of VAT refunds (51 per cent), and just under half, the suspension of the green fund and business levy (48 per cent).
Forty per cent called for the deferral of tax payments and 37 In the survey, companies were asked similar questions to the first, in relation to how the pandemic was affecting their business, the interventions they would like to see the government implement, and issues surrounding employee retention.
The first survey was conducted between March 18 and April 14. The Amcham noted that, in analysing the responses, it should be noted that the vast majority of respondents were from companies, which were allowed to continue business operations during the lockdown.
“This suggests that the impact on a similar sample size in which the majority of businesses were not allowed to continue operating would reveal an even bleaker outlook,” it noted.