ECLAC expects the closure of at least 2.7 million companies and the loss of 8.5 million jobs.

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The most severe impact of the pandemic in the region is estimated at the closure of 2.7 million companies in the next six months, most of which are micro-businesses with the loss of 8.5 million formal jobs that could go into informality, he warned. this Thursday the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).

In the presentation of her fourth special report Covid-19, called “Companies facing Covid-19: emergency and reactivation”, Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the agency said in a virtual press conference that the vast majority of companies in the region They have registered significant falls in their income and present difficulties in maintaining their activities.

Among the main challenges are serious problems in meeting their salary and financial obligations, and difficulties in accessing financing for working capital.

In Panama, the sectors that registered the greatest falls in income were hotels (-99.4%), construction (-86.4%), restaurants (-85.0%), retail trade (-83 , 8%) and tourist services (-78.7%), according to the Cepal report based on data from the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama. Official reports indicate that more than 260,000 labor contracts have been suspended.

The American continent is currently one of the main global outbreaks of the pandemic. The United States, Brazil and Russia account for more than 40% of global cases and other Latin Americans such as Mexico, Peru and Chile are also in the ranking of the most affected countries, according to the John Hopkins University.

Most Latin American economies remain semi-paralyzed, although several countries are slated to reopen non-core sectors in the coming weeks.

“It is important that the reopens be orderly, that they are not disorderly, that they are not so fast that they immediately lead to additional confinement,” Bárcenas urged.

According to the report, the vast majority of companies in the region have registered significant falls in their income and present difficulties in maintaining their activities, as they have “serious problems” in accessing financing and meeting their salary and financial obligations.

The UN agency recommended that governments adopt a series of measures to support companies, including extending the deadlines and scope of the lines of intervention in the area of liquidity and financing and co-financing the payroll for six months to avoid destruction of capacities.

This co-financing, which is estimated to have a cost equivalent to 2.7% of regional GDP, must occur in different proportions depending on the size of the company, from 30% in large companies to 80% in micro-companies, according to the document. .

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