Companies fear an almost total brake in April, a direct consequence of the social, preventive and compulsory isolation provided by the National Government
After the recent decision of the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) to reopen clearing or check clearing operations between banks, SMEs raised the alarms and fear an almost total brake in April, a direct consequence of social, preventive and mandatory isolation arranged by the National Government.
The objective of the monetary authority is that companies can meet their commitments to suppliers and pay salaries, something they should start doing next week, since the beginning of a new month, April, is just around the corner. the corner. The clearing was to be suspended until April 1, but the entity chaired by Miguel Ángel Pesce decided to reopen the activity on Thursday 26.
Communication A 6944 of the BCRA, which comes into force today, indicated that financial entities should “continue to provide the services that they usually provide remotely, such as setting up fixed terms, granting financing, and services related to the payment system “
Also contemplated by this measure are “accreditations of cash deposits by ATMs, self-service terminals, companies that transport cash, deposit mailboxes and by the agreed means in the case of cash deposits for larger amounts made by clients”.
In the midst of a quarantine that has paralyzed an important part of the economy for a week, each measure generates a wave of complaints about the unwanted effects. The reality is that the SME world has almost all industries -except those in the food and health sectors-, as well as shops and service companies that can operate remotely, literally with their curtains down, with no income in recent days .
This is why the main concern that small and medium-sized companies have is how they will pay the checks already issued and delivered to their suppliers, when the holders of these securities deposit them. The other key points are how to face the payment of fortnights and monthly wages.
The Ministry of Productive Development and the Central Bank are working on this but no measures have yet been announced. Coordination with the Government is in charge of the crisis committee of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA). The eventual extension of compulsory quarantine, with the economy paralyzed, further strains the flow of funds from SMEs.
Martín Rappallini, head of the Industrial Union of the Province of Buenos Aires (UIPBA), stated in this regard: “It is preferable to have a problem this Thursday and Friday and start solving it, so that in April we can face the salaries.”
And then, he added: “On April 1 we entered a phase 2 of the quarantine, where we will have to see if the list of essential activities, circulation, or what happens to the activities that are stopped will be expanded.”
In search of a solution to the economic problem faced by both SMEs and monotributistas, Rappallini said that one idea is to include capital intensive industries with little labor as an essential activity. “The objective is that the economy is maintained, that wages can be paid and that the payment chain does not fall,” said the head of the UIPBA.
With activity paralyzed, the situation is complicated. Today, approximately 70% of shops are closed. In this sense, Miguel Rodríguez, Pymi vice president of the UIA analyzed: “Until this payment of wages, the problem can be addressed, but after April and May the problem passes to medium and large companies, and also multinationals, because If they were unemployed for 30 days, where are they going to get the funds to cover? “
Given this circumstance, some SMEs are asking banks to double and even triple the turnover of the business to have a higher overdraft limit. Another alternative is for banks to finance the registered payroll (F. 931), with a soft loan or even at a zero rate.
Faced with the impact that the opening of the clearing may have, the Argentine Chamber of Commerce came out to request specific measures from the Central Bank to assist companies. Along the same lines, from the Argentine Confederation of Medium-sized Enterprises (CAME), they asked that “the opening of the clearing be reformulated” for SMEs, considering that a week ago their income fell, interrupting the payment chain. “
Pedro Reyna, head of the Argentine Federation of the Wood and Related Industry (FAIMA), referred to the subject and recounted the particular problem faced by the quarantine: “In addition to the impact of clearing for SMEs that we are not working, nor We cannot even transfer the salaries because, in general, the computers authorized by the banks to make the transfers are in the companies, we cannot do it from any PC “.
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