For those who ask why this sector needs a bail-out, the answer is simple, Irish SMEs have a huge systemic importance to the Irish economy:
- SME employment provides more than half of Ireland’s income tax, PRSI and USC.
- SMEs return almost two-thirds of Ireland’s VAT take.
- SMEs employ two-thirds of workers in the whole economy, and three-quarters of the workers in the value-adding part of the economy.
The reality is that Ireland has no Plan B for the Exchequer if large numbers of SMEs cease trading. Because of this, ISME fully supports the smerecovery.ie plan to reboot the economy.
As we know, Ireland has a well-developed examinership regime, to give viable businesses a chance to trade trough trading difficulties. But the current regime is too expensive and too slow for SMEs to avail of.
ISME has proposed procedural amendments to our examinership system that would make it more affordable for SMEs. ISME’s proposal is available here.
ISME are urging the Oireachtas to prioritise this legislation in order to allow as many SMEs as possible to avail of examinership protections.
Finally, Ireland’s medical management of COVID-19 has been exemplary to date. But the long-term maintenance of a social and commercial lock-down is not a viable response to this virus.
We need to understand the Governments strategy to reopen the economy and society, even if it is not possible to give actual dates for actions. Such a plan would detail the first, second, third priorities for opening, the preventive measures that these would entail, and so on.
We believe that society will retain confidence in the Government’s ability to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, but only if we can see the map.