For God’s sake freeze the bills
Three nations in Europe have already lost 13,000 lives as of 27 March 2020, so we need to get our butts into gear folks, not only to save lives, but also to save businesses and in turn livelihoods.
As we constantly hear the word unprecedented times, so we need to implement unprecedented measures. The Prime Minister needs to look down the barrel of the camera, and, as he did in telling the Australian people not to hoard, he needs to say: ‘Don’t force parties to immediately pay their bills – stop it!’ Then legislate straight away. It’s important to be bold right now.
If you have no cash flow at all, you will not be able to pay your bills anyway, so if the Australian Government were to put this into law and legislate to put all invoices on ice from your landlord, your bank, your water and electricity provider, and others, at least nobody is thrown out onto the street while we get our breath for the next few weeks or months. After that we carefully consider the next step going forward. If it requires international backing for creditors, so be it.
Ask yourself this question: When you only have a handful of dollars, are you going to put food on the table for your family, or pay somebody’s invoice? Bills won’t get paid, I’m sure. Better to put it into law for a period of time and avoid business chaos.
Governments, federal and state, are already holding off on some taxes, but they’re probably the last bills you pay as a small business anyway, but they are a good start. We need to consider the most important bills and halt them: power, gas, water, computer, fuel, rent, mortgage, vehicle repairs, whatever is needed to keep the business idling along. As long as it’s moving and the wheels are turning.
Perhaps in these extremely difficult times we would hope that creditors would not apply pressure too quickly. However, if they in turn have creditors screaming at their door, well of course it increases the financial pressure on them to apply their legal right as a creditor. It could be a new business term for 2020, ‘reverse saving’.
We have to stop the problem at its source. Instead of money flowing up the business chain, if the business escalator is stopped for the moment, by the Government, while we get our breath, then business hasn’t much income (if any), but also doesn’t have outgoings! Hence the status quo for the time being, which will stop the pending blood bath.
Nearly as importantly, the whole business chain doesn’t collapse and small businesses can at least stay open, even if it is in an ‘on paper only’ basis. At least they’ll get onto that ‘bridge’ to the other side that we all keep hearing about. And the business structure will be intact for when businesses start to re-emerge.
It’s so important to keep the business workforce intact – like a suspended business in simulation. The same way as when a public company runs into problems it suspends trading on the stock exchange.
At the same time, those businesses that are still getting good cash flow, some of them even an increased cashflow (supermarkets and chemists, for example), need to be required to pay their bills urgently. There needs to be some cash flow in the system to help make up for the shortfall.
Like dominos, if nothing is done to freeze our present situation and some creditors wish to enforce their financial rights, then we have a serious problem. In turn, if they have their financial responsibilities frozen, then they can go easy on their collections.
Some sections of the community need financial support to keep the wheels turning. It’s vitally important they receive it. Certainly, nurses doctors and other health workers on the frontline, many of whom are not earning huge amounts, need government assistance with their costs. Even If we have the best and most skilled nurses, how can they assist our society if their childcare or vehicle costs are unable to be paid? If they can prove they are working on the frontline of this pandemic, their invoices should be held in abeyance, or at least accepted on credit terms.
Likewise, agricultural producers of livestock, fruit and vegetables, poultry and eggs, and some specific manufacturers of particular products, should have access to assistance as frontline workers in this fight.
I don’t see much of an alternative actually unless we can find a vaccine extremely quickly – as in yesterday.