Businesses generally have to wait longer these days for the State or other businesses to settle their invoices, Unizo – an association linking Flemish medium-sized businesses – and the Graydon consultancy noted on Wednesday.
From the third quarter of 2014, when the bulk of the crisis appeared to be over, invoices had been paid at a faster rate. However, a slowdown was observed in the fourth quarter of 2015, and by the third quarter of this year, only 68.3% of invoices were paid on time.
According to Graydon and Unizo, institutions that have lost their image as prompt payers include the Federal Government, which settled only 61% of its debts on time in the third quarter of 2017, down from 72% in the second quarter. Moreover, it paid 11% of its bills more than 90 days late.
The accumulated arrears – those owed by businesses to other businesses as well as those owed by the Government – cost Belgium’s economy 9.65 billion euros last year. That was equivalent to 2% of gross national product and 20,000 jobs, according to Graydon and l’Unizo.
The sectors hardest hit by delayed payments are construction, business services and commercial mediation.