The president of the Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME) François Asselin asked Thursday, October 15 on franceinfo a “new scenario of exit from the loan guaranteed by the State”, whose repayments must begin from April. “We will fight, sometimes even with the energy of despair”says François Asselin, who fears the effect of the curfew imposed on 20 million French people on businesses.
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franceinfo: Is this curfew measure for 20 million French people violent for the economy?
François Asselin: Yes, she is violent. It’s like a pebble falling into water. When you’re near the epicenter, it shakes a lot. This is the case for restaurateurs. But you also have ripples and it prints in all sectors of the economy. If you’re a caterer, people don’t have the heart to party and you don’t have a business. In the show, in the event, it’s the same. Today everything is at a standstill and entrepreneurs who had investment projects may tend to put themselves on pause, in this context. We entrepreneurs are not whiners. We will fight, sometimes even with the energy of despair. Many of us today are on the verge of despair.
On the verge of despair or on the verge of bankruptcy?
You have the 3Ds: bankruptcy, divorce and depression. So, above all, we must avoid the depression of the person. We must, of course, avoid that his personal life suffers the consequences. And then, we must avoid filing for bankruptcy, for the legal person that is the company. We obviously need to rebalance the support and accompaniment measures that have been put in place. They will not be enough. This is why we are strongly campaigning for a new scenario of exit from the loan guaranteed by the State. Today, loans guaranteed by the state must be repaid from April. We realize that this will not be possible for many companies.
So we have to push back the repayment terms of this loan?
It is necessary to be able to shift, to give an option to those who will not be able to reimburse a year of excess. In addition, a consolidation loan should be set up. We realize that we will have to repay all these debts that have been suspended: loan repayments, social charges, taxes, sometimes rents. It does not go through. We should be able to consolidate all the debts in order to spread them over several years. Unfortunately, some will drop to one knee, that’s obvious. But for companies that were viable before, you have to be able to support them so that they can bounce back.
For companies that already have their knees on the ground, is it the blow?
For some of them, unfortunately, it will be very complicated. You have to accompany the man or woman who is going to file for bankruptcy. We must support them on a personal basis, it is very important to give them hope. We will need these people when it starts again. They have the ability to become self-employed, to take risks, to hire employees. It is from them that I will be needed to economically raise the country.