RESOLUTION SDC 331

FORUM: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

QUESTION OF: Measures to increase access of small-scale enterprises to financial services, including affordable credits following the COVID-19 crisis

SUBMITTED BY: Spain

CO-SUBMITTERS:Afghanistan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burundi, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Sri Lanka, United States of America.

STATUSApproved

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE,

 

Emphasizing that the planet is triggered by the COVID-19 crisis resulting in economic, social, and deadly consequences,

 

Fully aware that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are extremely worried about the impacts of COVID-19 worldwide as indicated with surveys since February 2020. Warning that the crisis could send an additional 130 million people into extreme poverty,

 

Taking into consideration that an increasingly negative impact of the pandemic on the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is documented. Domestic demand and supply, trade, and finance have been severely disrupted,

 

Deeply concerned that the major economic crisis consequently created a halt in production in over 190 impacted countries in addition to the worldwide collapse in consumption, and stock exchanges responding negatively heightened expectancy,

 

Emphasizing that global growth is projected at -4.9% in 2020. The global economy is followed into the worst recession since World War II. New regulations should be released in order to avoid this worldwide problem. Small-scale enterprises (SSEs) are likely to create job opportunities. This can be done at a faster rate when they have access to financial services,

 

Bearing in mind that SMEs are often established with a relatively small investment. SMEs are an important source of direct employment and self-employment,

 

Aware of the 15-Point Action Plan published by the International Trade Centre on supporting SSEs during the current pandemic,

 

  1. Calls the governments of member states to provide SSEs (with the help of The World Bank if necessary) with financial stability throughout the duration of the pandemic to ensure that the businesses are kept open in ways such as but not limited to:
    1. Encouraging national development banks to provide SSEs with grants for the coverage of expenses such as but not limited to:
      1. the cost of reopening and restarting businesses, especially the rehiring of employees that were laid-off due to company-restructuring as a response to the pandemic
      2. the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of workers and customers, barriers such as plexiglass to prevent airborne transmission of the virus, and disinfectants to provide the safest working conditions possible for the employees
      3. providing workers with paid-leave that are absent from work due to sickness from COVID-19, potential exposure to the virus, or caring for ill family members
    2. the implementation of Credit Guarantee Schemes (CGSs) to make loans more accessible for SSEs and utilizing the 16 principles set by The World Bank for the success of such schemes
    3. the creation of a ‘Paycheck Protection Program’ supervised by government approval panels in member states that would allow eligible SSEs to apply for a government loan specially dedicated to paying the wages of employees and applications for loan forgiveness also supervised by the panel that would decide upon factors such as:
      1. which employees are retained with a decrease in the forgiveness if any employees are laid off
      2. if the loan granted has been used appropriately with a detailed documentation of the expenses
      3. the percentage of the loan spent periodically
      4. the current financial state of the business as well as future projections for growth and profitability
    4. the establishment of a government body that prevents the abuse of government loans by individuals or groups through the means such as paying higher attention to the reviewal of loan applications by individuals and businesses, with specific attention paid to credit history and business projects, and a decrease in the required collateral that needs to be raised by the lendee
    5. the production of a weekly report accessible to the public detailing the list of the names of businesses accessing aid to ensure that no discriminatory practices are taking place, which would prevent businesses owned by individuals belonging to a minority group from accessing such loans and grants;
  2. Calls upon countries to adopt stricter sanitary rules, if necessary, to avoid further lockdowns to ensure that smaller enterprises can operate with the application of effective containment measures applying to public spaces, such as but not limited to:
    1. encouraging the measures such as:
      1. the use of masks to decrease the spread of COVID-19
      2. social distancing requirements to ensure that the interactions among customers and workers are at a safe distance
      3. frequent disinfection of commonly touched services
      4. the use of antibacterial hand-sanitizer prior to entering the store
    2. the fining of individuals and businesses that violate COVID-19 related regulations within member states, decided upon by the governments of these individual nations, in order to encourage citizens to abide by the law;
  3. Emphasizes the need to take decisive actions that will ensure the economic stability of member states and their citizens during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
    1. encouraging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to work in cooperation with the UN on enhancing the presence of development banks within the member states through the distribution of specialized COVID-19 packages to SMEs which would include:
      1. Disinfectants
      2. PPE
      3. Hand soap
      4. Paper Towels
    2. improving the distribution of initiatives such as guidelines published by credible organizations and advisory government bodies for specialized directives that support entrepreneurship education and mentorship in nations through the means of:
      1. promotion through advertisements on television
      2. the distribution of leaflets to information centers around the country
      3. advertisements on social media;
  4. Recommends that member states prioritize alleviating the burden on SSEs and SMEs by further developing measures taken by member states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic such as:
    1. systematically screening existing regulations and legislation that act as barriers to cross-border business and up-scaling through methods such as the ‘Fit for Future Program’ and the work of Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) which simplifies and reduces administrative burdens on small and medium businesses
    2. paying heed to the interests of SSEs and SMEs by allowing them access to improved and streamlined channels of communication between them and their representative organizations and governments
    3. focusing on regional and international organizations like the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) partnering with SSEs and SMEs that work in areas linked to the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment and medical equipment
    4. providing faster consensus on the conformity of products with regulations for companies and businesses that have converted their facilities to manufacture PPE and medical devices in order to allow easier and quicker access to markets
    5. creating practical guides to business by region or nation, such as the Your Europe Business Portal, which will ensure SSEs and SMEs are informed about their rights (e.g. intellectual property, patent management), selling and competition in their region, product requirements (such as markings, product compliance, standards), human resources, and interactions with consumers (e.g. consumer contracts and guarantees)
    6. lending under new terms, such as reduced interest rates, allowing for a flexible repayment duration at the discretion of the lending body and implementing capital buffer safeguards such as increasing the lending of banking institutions by lowering the requirements for SSEs and SMEs to take out loans
    7. launching investment initiatives backed by organizations like the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and increasing the capacity of venture capital and private equity in order to support SSEs and SMEs working in fields necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic that has a high growth potential;
  5. Encourages countries to support small businesses by the introduction of a more digitalized market due to the importance of digital purchases within the community to help limit the number of interactions and to allow businesses to prosper in ways such as, but not limited to:
    1. financially supporting enterprises in creating digital platforms in which customers can purchase goods and services online, with LEDC’s utilizing funding sent by the World Bank or other relevant organizations such as the Development Sub-Fund of the UN Peace and Development Fund (UNPDF), which would allow:
      1. better accessibility of goods and services to citizens and reduce the risk of exposure for contact
      2. deliveries to households which reduce the close contact interactions in frequency and duration
      3. businesses to continue operating during the pandemic with lower risk and more stable profits
      4. the protection of the people from the spread of COVID-19
    2. urging regional bodies to follow the example set by organizations like the European Innovation Council (EIC) that allocate funds to high-potential businesses to promote the transition to digital business operations and improved business models, thereby increasing the efficiency of function and performance.