In this period of general psychosis caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus throughout the world, there is no need to be familiar with the economic and financial mysteries in order to understand the extent of the serious crises that could ensue.
Because behind this health crisis, it is the financial crisis that threatens with its share of repercussions on the real economy – already dramatic in the West – and from which we, in turn, cannot escape.
Aware of this situation and anxious to limit its negative repercussions on Tunisian Small and Medium Enterprises, the Executive Bureau of the Tunisia-Africa Business Council (TABC), proposes to the authorities and banks some measures to protect Tunisian companies and save them from an unprecedented debacle.
If the Prime Minister, in his address to the nation on Friday, referred to a series of measures to cope with the pandemic and counter its development, it was not the same for the measures of monitoring and economic support especially for SMEs, businesses and artisans, who will be directly affected by this unprecedented crisis.
It must be recognized that most of these measures imply a halting economy. Entire sectors will find themselves in hibernation: tourism, industry, transport, health, sport, the automobile and aeronautics sectors, etc.
For an exceptional situation, exceptional measures are needed, so TABC proposes :
- A rescheduling of debt and credit repayment schedules with two to three months of interest non-application,
- The opening of management credits and TC credits to support the treasuries of Tunisian SMEs,
- Facilitation of investment credits and reduction of the time needed to grant them.
- Reduce the central bank’s key rate by at least 200 basis points,
- Supporting the Tunisian dinars to stay at its current level against the $ and the euro
- To pay without delay the outstanding debts of enterprises to public administrations and public enterprises,
- A moratorium on tax and social security contributions for small and medium-sized enterprises,
- Reducing the tax and social security contributions of SMEs, which make up 95% of our economy.
- Reinstate tax relief for productive investment,
- Suspend the application of VAT on sales by property developers,
- Set up a line of credit for companies in serious difficulty,
- The State may possibly consider offering guarantees to banks so that they can work to rescue and finance SMEs.
- Coverage of part of the employees on short-time work, to preserve as many jobs as possible.
- Creation of a relief fund for companies in insolvency or serious difficulties
- Facilitate procedures and deadlines for the export of Tunisian products
- Launch a major programme for the digitisation of administration and education, as well as distance working “Telework”.
- To set up a TASK FORCE composed of the best public and private skills, to go out with a rescue programme and ensure its application
All this remains subject to the following question: does the State have the means to implement these recommendations?
The answer to this question will obviously depend on how these urgent and thoughtful solutions will be undertaken by our governments to limit the damage while protecting us from a budgetary crisis.
Finally, TABC makes a solemn appeal for national and international solidarity, between individuals of the same nation and between peoples of different nations.