About 40% of the casi 96,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in Panama were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the crisis generated by long periods of confinement, it revealed Franklin Martínez, president of the National Union of Small and Medium (Unpyme).
These figures are the result of a study that reveals the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 in the country, developed by the Unpyme, a reality that in Martínez’s opinion is not being assumed by the authorities, who insist on pointing out that the country is in full economic reactivation, ignoring the situation of the SMEs.
“We invite you to walk through the streets of Panama and see the number of commercial streets that are closed, or have signs for sale or rent. Many are premises that have the name of companies that are not open, those numbers are not being quantified, “emphasized the president of the Unpyme.
Martínez reported that many of these companies in the records of the Ministry of Trade and Industries (MICI), they are still open and they are not, the SME sector is only receiving 40% of the numbers they received in 2019, so it asked for more support from the authorities, specifically in terms of financing so that the companies can be reactivated.
And it is that, for the president of the Unpyme, The funds that the national government is allocating to support this productive sector of Panama are not enough, since according to the Ampyme, in Panama, at least $ 300 million in financing to facilitate the reactivation of SMEs, but according to Martínez, they have not reached the companies.
“The funds that are being earmarked for a large number of programs that are being developed by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Authority (Ampyme) are not enough. The director of that entity, Oscar Ramos, he says that he has scheduled a large amount of millions of dollars, but we tell us the numbers and these do not reach 50,000 companies “, he emphasized Martínez.