By Lukasz Olender
Warsaw, Oct 3 (EFE).- The energy crisis driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is piling pressure on small businesses in Poland which are increasingly at risk of bankruptcy as costs continue to soar.
“The energy bills grew significantly compared to last year and bills for gas, power and heating are now several times higher,” Piotr Soroczyński, the main economist at the Polish Chambers of Commerce, Piotr Soroczyński, tells Efe.
Soroczyński says that the energy crisis has become a “critical threat” to small businesses including restaurants and bakeries, which are struggling to run their operations due to the skyrocketing prices of gas and electricity.
“With the costs growing so high, it becomes impossible to transfer all the costs to the prices,” he continues to say.
Inflation has affected demand as well as supply, according to the economist.
“Inflation already affects consumers, their wallets are not made of rubber,” Soroczyński says, adding that people have to choose between what they can afford and what they can no longer buy.
“For example, if a household’s mortgage installments and energy bills have increased, it still needs to buy groceries and it turns out that it cannot afford certain spending anymore,” the economist who held the position of Poland’s deputy minister of finance from 2006 to 2007 says.
Inflation in Poland during August rose to 17.2% year-over-year (YOY) and 1.6% month-over-month (MoM), while prices of energy suppliers grew by 44% YOY, according to official data.
While the Polish government has introduced measures to mitigate the effects of the crisis, these are directed at energy-consuming sectors which consist mostly of big companies, meaning small businesses are being left behind.
Asia Olejniczak, owner of an artisan bakery located in one of the newly built middle-class neighborhoods in Warsaw, tells Efe she will have to eat into her savings to save her struggling business.