Businesses feel latest stimulus package falls short

Ljubljana – Slovenia’s largest business chambers have said the latest stimulus package for tourism, worth EUR 243 million and passed by the National Assembly on Wednesday, does not meet expectations and would not sufficiently help sectors most badly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), which represents large companies, said several measures that businesses had proposed and that would have gone farthest were not included in the package.

One of the main shortcomings is that it does not address the unequal treatment of businesses that received aid under previous stimulus packages and now have to return it due to different eligibility criteria.

It said some of the measures it advocated had been included, including an extension of subsidies for short-time work, but noted that only businesses prevented by restrictions from opening would benefit.

The Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), whose membership mostly comprises small and medium-sized companies, said the package did not address their concerns and would not help the entire economy.

The OZS expects that a new stimulus package will be drawn up to help all industries affected by the health crisis. “Small businesses, the backbone of the Slovenian economy, need to be helped to recover as soon as possible,” it said.

The latest stimulus package has been beset by criticism since it was first presented. Stakeholders have argued that it is insufficient and came too late.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek has brushed aside the criticism by saying that the government had to be mindful of the state of public finances.

He also said that many previous measures had significantly helped the industry, which has received well in excess of a billion euro in aid in total.