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Mass consumption offers to lead the way out of the crisis and asks to be heard

Madrid, Jun 27 (.) .- The mass consumer sector offers to lead Spain’s exit from the crisis caused by the pandemic, although for this it demands from the authorities a greater capacity to listen to its demands to speed up vaccination, so that taxation does not harm the recovery and that a more flexible labor model is implemented.

“Clearly not, I do not have the feeling that we are heard enough given the relevance and weight in the national economy that we have,” argues the new president of the employers’ association of the Association of Mass Consumption Companies (Aecoc), Ignacio González.

In an interview with . – the first since he officially took office last Wednesday – the CEO of Nueva Pescanova also aims to achieve greater attention from the Administration among the challenges to be faced.

“We want to lead the way out of this crisis as a responsible sector that we are, we must trust in the potential of our companies. We already demonstrated it in the pandemic, when we managed to guarantee the food supply with hardly any breakage of ‘stock'”, he reasons.

González intends to “position the sector” as a key part of the economy, since the more than 30,000 companies that comprise it -Mercadona, Inditex, El Corte Inglés, Coca-Cola or Nestlé among them- represent about 25% of the national GDP .

“The pandemic helped us to make citizens in general see how important we are and we did not fail, that changed their perception a bit. But in the Administration, less,” he laments.

The employer’s manager cites as an example his proposal to accelerate the vaccination process, raised to the authorities three months ago and that for the moment has hardly been taken into account.

“We have 4.5 million employees and we offer our stores, warehouses and centers to vaccinate – through internal medical services or mutual insurance companies for accidents at work – but for now little attention has been paid to us. by age we could help “, assures the president of Aecoc in reference to the high percentage of young workers in his companies.

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González recalls that although the percentage of immunized against covid-19 increases at a good rate, the Spanish economy plays a good part of the year during the summer period, so any progress will be key for tourism and hospitality.

CONTRARY TO RAISING FISCAL PRESSURE

In his opinion, in a situation such as the current one, it is necessary to “invest in innovation and have financial muscle to get out of the crisis”, so the possibility that the Spanish Executive increases the tax burden “is not going to help” and runs the risk of slower recovery.

In this sense, he emphasizes the importance of preventing the autonomous communities from breaking the market unity with specific taxes, and underlines that the country is at stake to remain competitive with the arrival of European “Next Generation” funds.

“It is a unique opportunity that we cannot pass. If SMEs – which are the majority in the national business fabric – are not digitized and invest in sustainability now, it is very difficult for Spain not to lose the train”, warns the leader of Aecoc.

In fact, this injection of funds could even facilitate a “change of model” so that the industrial sector has a greater weight within the Spanish economy.

Another of the employer’s demands is that the Government introduce greater flexibility in labor legislation, a key point for a part of the mass consumer sector due to the seasonality of its sales.

“We would be satisfied that when deciding the measures that affect us, they would count on us more. The companies are the engine of the economy and the Administration must recognize us as such, we would like to be consulted about our vision,” he insists.

FORECASTS

The mass consumer sector predicts a significantly better summer than the previous year, with the rise in confidence indices as a key indicator to be optimistic.

“GDP fell eleven points in 2020, but there is a savings bank of almost 60,000 million euros and almost half was not spent because it was not possible to travel, because they stopped going to the hotel industry … As soon as the economy improves This is going to emerge and it is good news, “argues González.

Aecoc estimates that Spain will not recover 100% of the pre-pandemic economic situation until 2023, with the return of international tourism as the main factor to take into account.

“Direct aid in Spain is around 4% of GDP, well below the average of other European countries. Our particularity has been the ICO credits, which add up to practically another 8%. They have helped to inject liquidity, but they have to be paid back at some point, “warns its president.

Oscar Tomasi

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