Wednesday 21 March 2018

Company owners still concerned about cost of doing business here

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

COMPANY owners are slightly less dissatisfied with the Government but still have big concerns about the cost of doing business in Ireland.

A survey by the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (Isme) found that the satisfaction rating among companies rose from -57 to -51.

But Isme warned the Government not to take too much solace from the poll findings.

Chief executive Mark Fielding said the survey was carried out prior to the introduction of the "disastrous" prompt payments directive and the "serious omission" of SME owners from advisory body Action Plan on Jobs.

"The directive will actually make it more difficult to be paid on time and the omission of SMEs from the jobs advisory body shows clearly that this Government has turned its back on the sector, despite its continuous assertions that the SME sector is the backbone of the economy," Mr Fielding added.

Key findings from the survey of 1,000 SMEs include:

• Combined satisfaction rating rises from -57 to -51.

• Government efforts on tackling business costs are at -71.

• Efforts on tackling the banking crisis rank at -70.

• Dealing with the troika is at -15 and the jobs effort is at -45.

Medium-sized businesses continue to rate the Government better than the rest at -26.

Mr Fielding called on the Government to tackle costs, jobs, access to finance and to prioritise the restoration of competitiveness.

"All costs, including public sector and legacy business costs, must be benchmarked against our immediate international competitors," he said.

"We must also expose sheltered sectors to greater competition and ensure greater access to bank credit for SME business."

The survey comes a day after a poll by business body Ibec found confidence among Irish chief executives has risen to the highest levels since records began in 2009, with more CEOs planning to take on employees.

The IBEC business sentiment survey for the first quarter of this year shows that one in four managers indicated that they would be hiring new employees in the coming quarter.

Irish Independent

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