The challenges for businesses in Ticino are the same as those faced by the entire Swiss economy. That’s been the case for many years now as Ticino is developing at the same rate as the national average. Raw material supplies and energy are therefore key issues at the moment – in terms of both availability and costs.
Those are all factors that are also putting a strain on our canton’s economy. The supply bottlenecks were already a problem before the war in Ukraine. Now everything has escalated and become costlier, which is squeezing the margins and hindering an upturn. With energy costs sky-rocketing at the same time, business operations are becoming critical for many enterprises and untenable for some. Although Ticino’s companies have a large investment capacity and good self-financing systems on average, the challenges are huge. Fortunately, there hasn’t been a negative impact on employment yet, although that could soon change. Currently, we are also facing a severe shortage of skilled labour here in Ticino because our traditional recruitment zone in northern Italy is no longer sufficient either.
Businesses are always on the look out for alternatives. In the case of raw materials, many entrepreneurs have found new supply channels, although procurement costs are now higher as a result. But at least the companies are able to procure materials like before so they can continue production. With raw materials like steel it's more difficult as there are few alternatives to Russia and Ukraine. In terms of energy, it’s difficult to give a definite answer at present. It depends on how the situation develops over the coming months. Nevertheless, there are certain precautionary measures that companies can take: on its website, the government recommends business continuity management, for example. This involves analysing processes systemically. The results are then used to draw up strategies and measures to ensure that key processes can continue running, even with energy shortages. Other government recommendations target construction measures and emergency electricity supplies.
It’s impossible to say. If the last three years have taught us anything, it's that nothing is impossible any longer, unfortunately. We’re dependent on international events to such a degree that it’s incredibly difficult to make the right decisions. For me, the main thing is to ensure that Switzerland remains an attractive location for companies through the creation of a good business environment. That’s a reliable way forward, especially in tough times. For example, social partnerships must not be cancelled as a way of keeping administration costs more or less under control. That’s the only way for us to survive on the international markets. I am confident that we can make it, thanks to the flexible economic structures, relatively non-rigid legislation and, most of all, our companies’ great capacity for innovation. To succeed, we need support from the policy-makers. We can only overcome the crisis if we work together.
Mr Albertoni, thank you for your time.