Highlighting the threat to the continued operation of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) worldwide, ICC has today launched a campaign to encourage coordinated and collective action to help make business work for everyone, everywhere, every day. As part of this campaign, ICC has released a call to action encouraging governments to ensure that stimulus efforts flow rapidly into the real economy and provide direct and immediate support to MSMEs and their workers. It states:
“The imperative to Save Our SMEs cannot be overstated: this agenda is of paramount importance to safeguard the current and future functioning of the global economy and the livelihoods of billions of workers throughout the world.”
As the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries, ICC is witnessing the severe impacts of COVID-19 on businesses and people globally – with MSMEs and their workers among the hardest hit.
According to the ILO, as many as 24.7 million jobs are at risk. In the Bangladeshi garment sector alone, more than US$2.7 billion in orders have been cancelled since the start of the year, resulting in the closure of thousands of factories putting four million workers at risk. Many other MSMEs throughout the world are currently facing severe threats to their continued viability owing to demand shocks, labour constraints and a shortage of available cargo routes. ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a monumental health crisis that has also quickly become a global economic crisis, threatening the continued operation of MSMEs and the livelihoods of workers everywhere. Given the role of MSMEs as the backbone of the global economy, ICC is working closely with world chambers and our global network to raise awareness of the plight of these vital businesses, to provide trusted policy advice and concrete tools to help save them.”
In an initial “SOS” call to Save Our SMEs, ICC has today issued recommendations to governments to:
- Provide direct and immediate support to small businesses to ensure their continued operation
- Provide direct and immediate support to workers and those most vulnerable—both at home and abroad
- Ensure support reaches MSMEs and their workers quickly
- Adapt existing government-led social programmes
- Ensure open trade and the expedited flow of essential goods across borders
- Implement formal and informal channels for dialogue between government, employers, workers and communities.
Visit the Save Our SMEs website