Panama City, Mar 9 (EFE) .- 71% of Central American companies suffered losses last year of 321 million dollars as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Central America (Fecamco) released this Tuesday.
“The survey reaffirms the negative impact that the economic management of the crisis has had in the region, since as a consequence of the pandemic our companies report that 30% of the jobs they generated were suspended or lost also as a result of closures and restrictions on mobility “, said the president of the federation, Raul Delvalle.
Fecamco, made up of six chambers of commerce from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, represents almost 20,000 companies, of which 70% are micro, small and MSMEs.
The survey, conducted between January 15 and February 28, 2021, found that 29% of companies made profits totaling $ 94 million, an average of $ 327,000 per company.
58% of those surveyed in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama said that they carried out layoffs or suspension of contracts, that 42% did not take any of these measures and more than half had to reduce the working day .
The effects of the pandemic caused an increase in financial commitments of 51% of those surveyed, while 37% managed to conclude some negotiation with the bank to overcome their debts.
“The governments of our countries must guarantee the sustainability of the reopening. Only in this way will we be able to keep companies operating, recover and generate jobs,” added Delvalle.
The restrictions on mobility yielded “interesting results” in terms of electronic commerce, according to the union, since 44% of the companies surveyed had to use this modality due to the health crisis.
Before the pandemic, only 32% of companies sold online, Fecamco said.
The companies raised three main difficulties to operate through this online channel: low traffic, difficulty in expanding the forms of payments and lack of technical knowledge.
On the other hand, they added that there were benefits such as better digital positioning, greater knowledge of customer behavior and increased sales.
Companies also had to adapt to telework, since 62% of those surveyed managed to transfer to this modality and 71% positively evaluated the results.
“Teleworking has come to stay. 76% of those surveyed indicated that they will continue to use it during 2021. Of these, 63% will implement it throughout the year and the remaining 37% only during the first quarter,” Delvalle explained.
(c) EFE Agency