For more than a year the whole world has been adapting to the conditions caused by Covid-19 virus. After surveying* the commercial companies of Rezekne Special Economic Zone (Rezekne SEZ), we found out their opinion about the work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Half of the respondents, mostly small and medium-sized Rezekne SEZ commercial companies, admit that the Covid-19 pandemic left a negative impact on the overall business, by deteriorating turnover, exports and other indicators. 42% felt that the impact of the virus was insignificant, what was mainly expressed by large companies, 8% admitted that the pandemic had a positive effect on their business.
It is pleasing that 66% of the surveyed companies have saved the previous or increased the number of work places, and only one of the companies surveyed has reduced the amount of wages that demonstrate their high sense of responsibility towards their employees.
Commercial companies have indicated the introduction of remote work, the use of more digital channels, as well as the production of new products as other changes to adapt to pandemic conditions.
Rezekne SEZ commercial companies are looking with an optimistic view into the future. 41% of the respondents expect that the turnover will increase in the next six months and 33% expect that the export indicators will also improve. However, entrepreneurs also see a number of risks in the future, such as changes in export markets and cooperation chains, as well as difficulties in selling the produced goods or services, 23% of the respondents do not see significant risks.
Zinaīda Lovnika, Chairman of the Board of “VEREMS” RSEZ SIA Company, which employs more than 300 residents of Rēzekne city, Rezekne municipality and nearby regions, says about the company's operations in Covid-19 conditions: “This has been a difficult year for all of us. If the company has experienced economic fluctuations and changes in market demand before, then for the first time in the company's history we are experiencing such an emotional insecurity and uncertainty about the future that the COVID-19 pandemic brought. However, as a team, we have not only been able to withstand, but in spite of global difficulties, to achieve good results. Our competitive advantages have been speed and flexibility. We have maintained the production volume of birch plywood products, achieved a lot in improving work efficiency, and invested a lot in creating a purposeful future strategy. ”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government and its institutions have developed support tools for entrepreneurs, which have also been used by Rezekne SEZ commercial companies. Half of the respondents have used the extension or division of the tax payment term into payment periods, downtime allowance, as well as other types of support.
This is also a time full of challenges for the Rezekne SEZ Authority - it is necessary to proactively respond to global problems and provide maximum support to commercial companies.
We have already reported that in 2020, Rezekne SEZ Authority has organized two project contests to mitigate the consequences of Covid-19 in Rezekne SEZ commercial companies, supporting the purchase of protective equipment (masks, disinfectants, dispensers and thermometers). 10 commercial company projects were supported in both project tenders, dividing more than EUR 49,400 from the Rezekne Special Economic Zone Business Support Fund.
* 12 out of 19 commercial companies currently operating in Rezekne SEZ, including largest Rezekne SEZ companies - “VEREMS” RSEZ SIA, RSZE SIA “LEAX REZEKNE”, as well as “NewFuels” RSEZ SIA, participated in the survey.