AHETA, considering the magnitude of the Coronavirus tragedy, considers the measures approved by the government to be insufficient and inadequate and, the delays in their implementation, a block for companies
Despite considering that the measures announced by the government to support companies go in the right direction, the truth is that they are insufficient and inadequate, given the scale of the tragedy and its impact on the tourism economy and on hotel and tourist companies.
Hotel and tourist establishments have already closed and/or are preparing to close sine die doors, given the abrupt drop in tourist demand and the total stoppage of business worldwide.
Cost reduction is, in this context, an essential obligation for companies, as well as the extinction, even if temporary, of jobs.
In this sense, the so-called simplified lay-off should be understood only as a short-term solution, not serving the needs of the deep crisis that is anticipated long and lasting. Thus, it is proposed:
The State must assume the 66% regarding the costs of workers of companies and establishments closed totally or partially, freeing companies from a high fixed cost, committing themselves to maintain jobs, when the enterprises reopen and the resumption activity.
The situation is not even more serious at this moment, because companies have anticipated vacations and recoveries. However, as these end, jobs will be extinguished and collective redundancies a fatality that must be avoided at all costs.
On the other hand, and with regard to credit lines, we must bear in mind that loans are not subsidies, but rather debts that will have to be paid in the near future. In this matter, two situations stand out:
1. The interest rates charged by banks, including guarantees, are higher than 2.5% and may reach values of more than 3%, which in the current context is unbearable for companies.
In these terms, it is proposed that Turismo de Portugal assume the role of Financial Institution, which has been in the past, replacing banking in the granting of loans to the hotel and tourist business.
2. Allow companies with tax debts not yet settled, to do so, through the provision of evident equity guarantees, even when these assets have been subject to previous liens, bank or otherwise.
There are many companies that, despite being in the process of regularization with the Tax Authority, have not yet finalized the respective agreements, preventing them from resorting to the approved support mechanisms (credit lines, simplified lay-off, etc.)
The issue of paying contributions and taxes goes beyond deferral. Therefore, given that the recovery of tourism activity will be slow, the temporary exemption of some contributions and other taxes is justified, namely with regard to Social Security, Special Payment on Account, IMI, etc.
For AHETA, the government must be bolder in actions and measures aimed at blurring the negative effects of an unparalleled crisis, following the example of other member states of the European Union, providing companies with mechanisms to prevent an unprecedented economic collapse, in order to allow its quick and efficient recovery in the recovery phase of world tourist economies.
AHETA also appeals to the Portuguese who have planned holidays in the Algarve during the Easter period or who intend to move to second homes in the Region, to remain in their usual homes, following the recommendations of the health authorities and thus avoiding further constraints social and health issues.