RGDATA has called on the Government to set up a State agency with specific responsibility to grow and develop Small To Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
According to a new Economic Report from the Local Jobs Alliance, which was prepared by economist Jim Power, the new State body should be established now to drive and support SMEs to reboot the economy.
The report points out that the IDA and Enterprise Ireland fulfil an important role in achieving their objectives for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies and Irish companies offering services abroad, but there is no such agency for SMEs primarily servicing the Irish market.
In the report, Power said he recognises that SMEs will 'become an engine to drive urban and rural regeneration; build social capital; deliver a circular economy; and contribute to much of the social cohesion and community endeavour so evident since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Ireland.'
“The one thing SMEs have in common is that they provide local employment in the cities, towns and villages throughout the country, they represent the lifeblood of regional economic activity," said Tara Buckley, director general of RGDATA.
"They receive no support from agencies of the State and get very little recognition in official policy making. This is in marked contrast to the FDI component of the economy,” she added.
The Local Jobs Alliance report also states that a range of measures are now necessary to ensure that as many small businesses as possible survive the shock posed by COVID-19 as they will have to play an essential role in re-building the Irish economy as the virus passes and the economy is re-opened.
“Specific COVID-19 measures need to be introduced to cover issues such as liquidity and solvency supports, fiscal grants, lower VAT rates, reduced Excise Duties, a commercial rates holiday for 12 months, a commercial rent scheme and insurance cost alleviation measures," said Jim Power.
“The agenda of an incoming government must include measures to nurture, support and grow the SME sector, which makes such a strong regional and national economic contribution, and which will play an essential role in re-building the economy," he added.
The Alliance is an umbrella group of seven leading trade organisations: RGDATA, the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA), the Independent Representative Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (ISME), the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI).
Collectively, the groups members represent almost 24,850 SMEs across Ireland.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.