The Official Opposition is throwing its support behind the Canadian Federation of Independent Business request for the provincial government to help small and medium businesses survive this pandemic.
“Since this pandemic began we have been encouraging the government to look at new measures that would help businesses survive the current COVID-19 crisis. So far we’ve seen very little beyond a loan program and businesses are telling us they don’t want more debt” said Carleton Victoria MLA and opposition critic for economic development Andrew Harvey.
“Other provinces have stepped up to the plate big-time and there’s a sense our government is dragging its feet. The situation has reached critical for small businesses and every day we’re reading stories about businesses that are closing for good. The premier needs to pay attention to what the CFIB and others are saying before it’s too late.”
The CFIB has proposed various measures that could help businesses stay afloat during the months to come, including a grant program, a reduction in provincial property taxes and a pause in worksafe premiums.
“The CFIB is a very important organization and represents numerous businesses in the province. We support their recommendations and believe government should take them into serious consideration,” said Harvey. “Premier Higgs often speaks about collaboration during these difficult times. We ask that he collaborate with the CFIB to help our New Brunswick businesses survive so that they can help us rebuild our economy once the pandemic is over.”
In an earlier press release, the Liberal Opposition had requested the government look at a possible deferral of all provincial taxes and fees until businesses start seeing revenues again.
“With the payment deadline of May 31st fast approaching and restrictions very slowly being lifted, businesses are really starting to feel the pressure.” Said Harvey. “Extending this deadline to August 31st would allow more time for the businesses to prepare and budget for that expense.”
Another measure recommended by the opposition liberals was a Small Business Emergency Support Program where the province guarantees 25 per cent of working capital loans for small businesses up to a maximum provincial commitment of $10,000 per loan.
“These businesses can’t wait any longer,” Harvey said. “We understand there’s a cost involved but it’s the right thing to do. The alternative is seeing our Main Streets turn in ghost towns, and empty malls. Let’s start offering some real help for businesses like other provinces are doing.”