The Slovenia Times

Business club proposes measures to fight Covid-19 consequences


SBC executive director Goran Novković told the press in Ljubljana on Monday that a majority of companies had been relatively optimistic given the prospects at the start of the pandemic. It would be good to take advantage of such a situation to take measures which would encourage them for growing further.

"But there is also a group of companies which are still affected by the measures to stem the spreading of the novel coronavirus, although they had been successful before the epidemic. We thus call on the government to pay special attention to them, as it has to the tourism sector," he added.

SBC president Jure Knez stressed that the fight with the coronavirus "has not been won yet and we are entering the second half", adding that there is a great deal of global uncertainty about what will be happening until the end of the year.

Some industries are more affected than others, and need help, and the SBC wants the criteria for additional liquidity funds with state guarantee to be changed and the measure extended until the end of June 2021.

"The issuing of loans with state guarantees has not kicked off, and there is not much interest due to different reasons, and because we don't know what the future will bring, I think it is essential that this measure is actually implemented," Knez said.

The employer club also wants the condition of a more than 10% drop in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 for subsidised furlough be eliminated.

Marko Lotrič of the metrology company Lotrič Meroslovje said that, according to unofficial information, that the government had so far spent only EUR 1.1 billion out of the originally planned EUR 3 billion from the first anti-coronavirus package.

It seems unfair to him that companies which have managed to increase revenue with innovative approaches and investments in new products are not eligible for government support.

Martin Jezeršek of the catering company Jezeršek Gostinstvo said that the meetings industry was severely affected as it "does not belong anywhere, but to several industries at the same time" and had been overlooked.

This is happening although it accounts for around 7,000 jobs and is projected to lose around EUR 250 million this year, he added.

For these reasons, the SBC proposes that vouchers for the meetings industry, amounting to 10% of their last year's sales revenue, are introduced.

The club also wants the use of tourism vouchers to be expanded to tickets for natural and cultural heritage sites and to the meetings industry, and the extension of their validity until 30 June 2021.

Also proposed are epidemiological rules for foreign workers under which they would be tested twice and had shorter quarantine in case of infection.

Andrej Repše of the construction company Armat pointed to the problem of the mandatory two-week quarantine for foreigners in the construction sector. For this reason, they started looking for jobs in other countries.

The SBC also proposes the freezing of the minimum wage act provisions which will enable a rise in the minimum wage as of 1 January 2021, arguing that this is unsustainable in the given circumstances.

Štefan Pavlinjek of the industrial group Roto said that the raise had been adopted in completely different circumstances. "If the minimum wage is raised, this will cause jobs moving from Slovenia and higher unemployment," he added.


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