President of Crafts Chamber of Skopje Nikola Petrov told Monday’s press conference that the coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire craft services sector. Without the state assistance due to the reduced demand of services, the survival of enterprises and jobs of 5,800 craftsmen and 3,300 people working in these enterprises is threatened, he added.
They propose that craftsmen should be included in the wage subsidy measure, while the tax exemption on personal income tax to apply to both lump-sum taxpayers and real-income taxpayers until pandemic crisis lasts. They are looking for opportunities for craftsmen to apply for loans offered by the Development Bank. Health Fund to cover all costs if they are ill and if they need to self-isolate, Petrov said.
According to Petrov, the craftsmen are not included in any measures taken by the government and so far, have not received a response to the proposals for assistance.
If the wage subsidy measure does not cover craftsmen during the crisis, likelihood of business closings and layoffs is high, Petrov warned.
The government needs to find way to help financially the craftsmen. Otherwise, the number of craftsmen will decline, many businesses will cease to operate and a smaller number of people will register as craftsmen in the future. Now is the time for the government to help the sector because without financial assistance many businesses will not survive, Petrov said.