The commerce sector is disappointed by the Government’s decisions — desperately needed direct support is still missing
The Government’s decision from today to increase corporate support was welcome as such, but its size and content were a disappointment for the commerce sector. Stores are suffering as the demand for specialty and other goods has collapsed, and the direct support they desperately need was not included in the Government’s decision. The Finnish Commerce Federation is worried that the coronavirus pandemic will cause a wave of bankruptcies in the sector that employs the most people.
Even though in the past weeks the Government has quickly tried to create a bridge that would allow companies to make it through the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of companies in the commerce sector do not think that the support measures, including funding by Finnvera, Business Finland, ELY centres and municipalities, or the tax administration’s payment arrangements, have helped them. A recent survey by the Finnish Commerce Federation shows that up to 65 per cent of the respondents estimate that the support measures have not had much influence on the financial situation of their company.
“The measures that the Government implemented earlier have had a limited impact on the problems that the coronavirus crisis has caused for commerce, including in particular the decline in demand and excessive fixed costs, such as personnel and rental costs. They decided to continue using the old prescription even though the medicine did not help before,” says Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
“Business Finland’s new R&D&I loans have a very limited impact on the commerce sector’s distress. Small companies do not want to be over-indebted if their future prospects are bleak. Companies need support in an acute situation, and future-centred development actions do not help. In itself, support for developing consumer service operations that is easy to apply for is a good idea and we are in favour of it,” the Finnish Commerce Federation states.
“The commerce sector would have needed direct support like in the other Nordic countries to cover rental and personnel costs. If other Nordic countries are able to provide such direct support measures for service companies, Finland should also have all the prerequisites to do the same,” Kiviniemi continues.
Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)50 511 3189, mari.kiviniemi(at)kauppa.fi
Survey regarding the impact of the coronavirus crisis for corporate members of the Finnish Commerce Federation; press release 7 April 2020