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The International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) announced on March 16 that it would be working with the World Health Organisation “to ensure the latest and most reliable information and tailored guidance reaches the global business community.”
The ICC states that all businesses have a key role to play in minimising opportunities for the spread of coronavirus through “early, bold and effective action” that minimises short-term risks to employees and longer-term economic costs. It has also partnered with US think tank the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) to develop a summary of actions that companies can take to reduce these risks.
The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on its page Tackling the coronavirus calls for a united global effort to tackle the pandemic, with “a level of ambition similar to that of the Marshall plan” that helped countries recover in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Reuters reported on March 19 that the UK’s Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) called on the Bank of England (BoE) and major lenders to accelerate the flow of credit to British companies, as much of the country’s business activity is slowed or temporarily halted due to the lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
The ACT called for a programme enabling the BoE to lend directly to large businesses to be extended to smaller firms, and for banks to accelerate their lending decisions after the central bank eased rules governing their capital buffers.
“It’s vital that credit lines are readily available to businesses. If we can get this right, then it effectively mitigates some immediate risks to businesses,” said the ACT’s chief executive, Caroline Stockmann.
On March 17, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £330bn (US$380bn) lifeline of loan guarantees and a further £20bn package of tax cuts, grants and other help for companies to maintain operations while the pandemic continues. facing the risk of collapse. However, Naresh Aggarwal, the ACT’s associate director told Reuters: “New lending, business rates relief… all these things take time to secure, and that is time they can't afford to waste.”
Aggarwal posted an article entitled on the ACT website, A treasurer’s perspective on the coronavirus on March 6, although the speed of developments in recent weeks suggests that this advice will be updated.