Wednesday April 1st for many. For others, the 2, the 4 or the 10. The wakefulness today of those who give work in Argentina is to collect the money to pay the March wages, a month in which a third of the days have been affected by the quarantine. . And the rest of March passed by half a machine for many, because the recommendations to avoid meetings were already felt.
Some, hardly, drawing on a reserve, will be able to pay March wages. Others began inquiries at banks to see if they have room to expand overdraft or risk 24 percent with the promised lines: overnight they had to close their doors and sales dropped to zero. Others still don’t know what they will do. Nor how to imagine the panorama in April.
In Argentina there are some 650 thousand registered companies, more tens of thousands that, small, operate in informality, but also provide work. It is estimated that barely 30 percent of the economy is moving, which is what corresponds to essential activities, linked to health, food, agribusiness and transport. The rest go through a deep stop without getting any answer that gives certainty.
All expect a more concrete bailout by the states: suspension of tax obligations, extension of the current moratorium until March 31, special deduction of Profits for those who maintain the payroll and a gigantic pause of all social security charges until the wheel resumes.
“The problem is that everything is stopped, the hotels are closed, there is no capacity to reinvent itself in the face of this,” says María Victoria Urribarren, from the Aloña Servicios company, which repairs the washing machines for hotels and clinics.
“They announce aid for those with up to 25 employees, but for us there is nothing,” says Horacio, head of Cordoba Crayon, with 32 employees.
Printers: filled with orders, but not sold
José María has a business cell phone at home: since compulsory social isolation was established, orders have exploded.
He owns the Printer Center, with a store in Villa Carlos Paz and another in Santa María de Punilla. It sells supplies for printers, refills ink in cartridges and, when they enter the country, it sells new machines.
“Our clients are people who use the printer, and now we have a lot of calls from clients who are working at home, who need us, but we cannot open.” The quarantine situation would have favored us because of our specialty, but we cannot do so, ”he laments.
He has no income, he has a lot of potential work that he does not attend and, meanwhile, the obligations to pay remain.
The business has two employees in the morning and one in the afternoon. “Every month, from 1 to 5, I am obliged to pay the salaries. And the light? Will they cut it off if I don’t pay it? And if I don’t pay it, will I have interest for the delay? We always talk about those who have nothing or big companies, but we never talk about those in the middle, we never talk about ourselves, ”he laments.
“On April 1 I have the due date of employer contributions, I have many doubts and in the middle we do not have clear accounts,” he describes.
He lived 20 years in northern Italy and his daughter is now in Rome, where the pandemic is out of control. “There the State pays the unemployment fund for nine weeks and the employer is unconcerned,” he compares.
Leather footwear: closed and without tourists
Jorge Cierto is in charge of the Cerro family company, which sells men’s leather shoes, all handmade.
80 percent of its production is sold in shopping malls, on pedestrians and in the charming boutiques of Recoleta and Palermo, where international tourism abounds. Today, everything closed.
“Now all that is closed; the only thing we have is online sales, but we cannot deliver, so we are totally paralyzed, ”says the manufacturer of the popular boots from the 1980s.
Their footwear is also used for weddings, meetings, events to which they must be well dressed. “All those scenarios are at zero,” he laments.
“We are very concerned because we have not seen anything, I have shoemaker friends in Italy and we have not really seen anything in terms of health and the contraction of the economy,” this man resigned himself, with the image on his head of the Lanús Oeste villas, the which he visits frequently because it is a tannery zone. “They are narrow alleys, all ranchitos, with a single water peak at the entrance. If the virus enters there, it is unstoppable, ”he graphs.
Like everyone, the concern is to pay the salaries. He pays for a fortnight and the first time he could pay it. “Until the second fortnight I think we have arrived, with some reservation we will pay, but there we will see, we have to live day by day,” he maintains. “For me, there will be a cataract of business closings, crisis prevention procedures, fallen checks, summons of creditors,” he warns.
Children’s clothing: without invoicing and a lot to pay
The mood in the Crayon company, a family SME of 32 employees that makes clothes for boys, is that of abandonment. “There is no understanding of the situation. If this continues, all SMEs will fall, “says Horacio, in charge of the brand along with Alejandra, his wife.
It has six of its own stores and wholesales throughout the country. “The drawbacks are innumerable, we have zero income and obligations continue to fall; the first concern is the issue of wages, ”he says. There was not enough income to complete March. In the famous 931, it has 1.4 million pesos, plus all contributions and contributions.
“Unfortunately, the national and provincial economic measures being taken do not cover SMEs, it seems that there will be for those with less than 25 employees. I don’t see the way to face the salaries with zero income and without lines of credit, help, extension or something, because there are items that are out of everything, “says Horacio.
Your accountant assures you that there is not a single novelty on the Afip website: everything as is, as before the quarantine. They have the online shop on the page, but the cadets cannot deliver that parcel because clothing is not part of the essential activity, except in the national decree that established the quarantine.
Without income, the company knows that the checks will be rejected, although the banks told them yesterday that there will be no fines or obligation to inform the Central Bank.
The original text of this article was published on 03/27/2020 in our printed edition.
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