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Eduardo Valpuesta, Full Professor de Mercantil, School de Derecho
One step ahead
One of the biggest problems for many SMEs and the self-employed is late payment by public administrations. Although the Law stipulates for 2012 that the maximum deadline for the payment of supplies of goods and services is 40 days, the actual average is about 150 days (compared to a European average of about 70 days). This means that the provider, which has advanced the material and, obviously, is counting on the payment to finance its subsequent activity, finds itself without resources to do so. According to some data, this late payment is manager of the disappearance of some 225,000 companies, since the public sector in our country occupies a large part of the commercial activity.
The advertisement that the State is going to support a possibility of advance payment of these invoices, carried out by a consortium of entities of credit with the possible participation of the ICO, is therefore good news. It is simply a matter of paying what is owed and, when due, injecting this liquidity into the companies that have worked for the public administrations. According to the advance, the State will back these advances and, of course, it will be the public administration that finally pays the invoices, which contracted the service. There is no doubt that paying one's own debts is the first thing a country that considers itself solvent must do, and that the reactivation of the real Economics requires these incentives. If the provider is paid on time, it will be able to maintain jobs and its activity, acquire new materials, contract new services with the confidence that they will be satisfied, etc. It is to be hoped that all these benefits will far outweigh the new financial burden that this backing of the advances may mean for the central State and, in any case, the public authority is the first to set an example of paying what it owes.