Guest speaker Leendert-Jan Visser, director of MKB-Nederland, especially praised the resilience and ability to continue of the entire sector. During the last annual reception of the Royal Dutch Transport (KNV) in De Nieuwe or Littéraire Sociëteit De Witte in The Hague, he warned about the difficulty of closing a company in the Netherlands. Because when you stop and you employ staff, you have to pay a transition payment, among other things. The number of entrepreneurs who are seriously thinking about quitting their business could well be considerably higher than the 14% that the Chamber of Commerce (KVK) previously released as a result of an investigation. That is why understanding, flexibility and help from The Hague are necessary, according to Visser.
Deferred payments or settlement with the tax authorities or earlier agreements with banks and leasing companies are just a few factors that now require attention. Over the next five years, the sector will have to clear its debt from the wafer-thin margins. Not an easy task when the same sector is also coming under increasing pressure to modernize the fleet in the hope of winning tenders.
too late again
Visser argues for customization at the Ministry of Finance, among others, and asks the Tax and Customs Administration, for example, for more space. Room to give an entrepreneur more time to pay off debts. The cabinet has indicated in a letter to the House that it wants to set up a 'booster' who should thoroughly investigate what is possible to help entrepreneurs who are having a hard time. “It's good that the cabinet is taking this seriously, but it's so late in The Hague!” says Visser. “Entrepreneurs who were doing well before corona and now have debts due to the pandemic and can demonstrate this need to be helped immediately. Waiting is not acceptable.”
Companies that also performed moderately or poorly before corona will probably also go bankrupt. Every story of entrepreneurs behind those closed doors is poignant. That is why it is important to help these people as soon as possible. When they want to continue and when they want to stop their company'', concludes Visser.
The fact that corona has left a sensitive blow within the sector, where margins have been paper thin for years, was felt during the last meeting of the trade association. Compared to other years, this edition was moderately visited by the members. It is a typical picture that the sector is currently working on things other than receptions and meetings. After the corona crisis, entrepreneurs have to realize turnover to compensate for losses or debts. At the moment, 14 percent of entrepreneurs in the Netherlands indicate that the company is in bad shape.