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ECONOMY | 28-03-2020 08:56

Firms will go bankrupt within 30 days of no work, warns business lobby

Argentina’s Chamber of Commerce praises government’s handling of coronavirus crisis but warns that paralysis of economic activity will hit companies hard.

Faced with the economic impact of the paralysis in various sectors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Argentina’s Chamber of Commerce (CAC in its Spanish acronym) has asked for the implementation of extraordinary measures to avoid the destruction of jobs since many companies could go under due to the inactivity.

“If a company does not work for 30 days, it goes broke,” said Chamber secretary Natalio Grinman, while offering praise for the government’s work against the pandemic.

“[The] Government’s actions are excellent. Argentina is the most advanced country of Latin America and perhaps the continent in this respect, running ahead of the problems,” he told a radio station.

But Grinman also “urged” officials to attend to companies, which are “hard hit by the measures to contain the virus in a context of economic difficulties going back many years.”

Nevertheless, the recommendation to businessmen is that coronavirus should be “the focus of attention” of their companies. While some commercial activities like supermarkets and pharmacies are authorised to operate, most are inactive due to the current restrictions, Grinman highlighted.

The CAC secretary maintained that there are almost three million registered employees in paralysed commercial activities and services and that next week “these employees have to pick up their salaries,” asking for the implementation of “extraordinary measures” in consequence.

Big companies, such as Arcor, Mastellone, Loma Negra and Molinos are already reporting losses, dismissals and restructuring.

Within the context of the entire private sector adjusting and shutting down in the compulsory quarantine, Grinman considered it convenient to launch loans at zero interest for companies in order to prevent the chain of payments being cut and protecting jobs.

Towards those ends he further proposed more money being printed even if “lowering inflation may have to be postponed for a while.”

“We Argentine businessmen are unfortunately accustomed to working with high inflation but we cannot work with our shops closed,” he assured, warning “if the private sector goes broke, there will be nowhere to find the funds.”


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