ZAGREB, April 23 (Hina) – The Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) on Thursday welcomed the government’s plan to relax restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying that clear guidelines were needed from epidemiologists and that solutions should be devised to boost the economy.
“Today’s decision by the government provides a clear direction for intensifying business activities and for a return to work as a precondition for generating revenues and providing funds for workers’ wages,” the HUP said in a statement.
HUP director-general Davor Majetic appealed for clear and unequivocal instructions on safe work procedures to be given to employers as soon as possible.
“Businesses need precise instructions so that they can do all that is necessary to be able to operate in new conditions and in accordance with guidelines from epidemiologists,” Majetic said, adding that this would enable resumption of business activity without a threat of penalties and business closures over unclear interpretations of guidelines.
“We think it is important that together with the government we ensure that the required measures are applicable and practicable,” Majetic said.
He also mentioned the need to create conditions and solutions that would boost the economy next year. Citing conservative estimates according to which 300,000 people would be out of work by the end of the year, Majetic said: “That’s why solutions need to be urgently devised to provide a stronger boost to the economy.”
The HUP proposed nine measures to revive the economy: maintain liquidity for businesses, carry out an urgent analysis of parafiscal levies to reduce the highest ones at least for a specific period of time, reorganise public administration and the territorial structure of the country, digitise government services, reform labour legislation, resume public procurement procedures, increase private sector investment, improve cooperation between local businesses and local government, ensure that VAT is charged on settlement, and increase self-sufficiency in food and medicines.
HGK: Gradual relaxation of measures to bring economy back to life
The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) also welcomed the government’s decision to gradually relax the measures imposed over the coronavirus epidemic, saying that this would slowly bring the economy back to life.
“We need to be very careful because everything we have done can quickly go down the drain. I believe that with responsible behaviour we can show that the economy and public health can go hand in hand,” HGK president Luka Burilovic said.
The HGK said it was pleased that its proposal had been accepted and that all retail shops would reopen as of Monday, but added that shopping malls should have been allowed to reopen too. It also mentioned the acceptance of its suggestion that public transport be restored so that workers could travel to work.
Burilovic said that the government should consider allowing all hospitality businesses to resume work under strict conditions as of May 11 so that they would not have to lay off people. “Their reopening could save at least a bit of the tourist season, although we are aware that (the tourism industry) will take a long time to recover,” he said.