In addition to finding ways to protect the health of the population and save lives, which is the first and foremost goal, the coronavirus pandemic has posed another challenge to the world and national economies - to try by all means available to avoid a dramatic decline in economic activity, rising unemployment and panic response of actors in the financial market, as a consequence of disruptions in the supply and production and drastically reduced demand in many sectors globally.
The National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) has put forward a proposal for 10 measures to support businesses and preserve jobs during and after the coronavirus pandemic. They propose, among other things, temporary tax cuts and wage contributions, one-off financial assistance for companies and entrepreneurs in the most vulnerable sectors who see significant declines in income and the introduction of extended maternity leave and vouchers for hiring help with babysitting for individuals who lose their jobs.
Violeta Jovanovic, NALED’s Executive Director, says that at this point the absolute priority is to keep the virus from spreading further so that the healthcare system is under control. "That is why it is important to respect these unpopular measures, to show responsibility for ourselves and others. At the same time, we are working to preserve the stability of the economy. It helps to preserve society, to preserve all its segments, and to recuperate when the crisis passes. We have proposed some measures - first of all for maintaining employment, protecting small businesses, these are all services, small shops selling shoes, clothes, but also taxi drivers, cosmeticians, we need to devise a special set of measures so that they can survive" Jovanovic says.
"People respond out of concern," she says, "and in some cases close stores and terminate contracts with employees."And once they close the shops, it will be very difficult for them to return, they will remain in the gray area," she adds. Now is the time, she points out, to show patriotism and responsibility and "help the country overcome the crisis together".
"We helped the state to create this set of measures. So, as a first measure, we proposed to form a joint government-led group that would involve the community to come up with balanced measures that our budget can withstand. We have some announcements, and I would like to commend the moratorium the National Bank of Serbia placed on repayment of all loans, this is already a big burden, as well as this price control, it is also important, and we have other suggestions how all of us can help and get involved in overcoming this situation," Jovanovic said.
NALED also proposes a measure of seasonal employment. "We also have a number of people who are already out of work, and this trend is likely to continue. We suggest several measures of seasonal employment in agriculture to be expanded to into delivery assistance, home assistance, enabling people to be easily employed in a legal way , to enter the system and provide for themselves, and in the meantime, to do everything we can to organize ourselves to offer support," Jovanovic emphasized.
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