On Tuesday 6 July 2021, Luxembourg's Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Lex Delles, presented the 2020 annual results of the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
For transparency and optimisation purposes, the processing time for business permit applications in Luxemourg is published annually.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the tasks and daily routine of the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The General Directorate has supported businesses and the self-employed during this difficult period by setting up a range of support measures, particularly non-refundable direct financial aid as well as a refundable advance. In 2020, it paid out more than €261 million in financial aid and handled 42,419 cases.
Nevertheless, the processing time for business permit applications saw a slight increase: the processing time in 2020 was equivalent to an average of 9.8 days (compared to 9.4 in 2019).
Minister Lex Delles noted that “optimising the processing time for cases is a priority for the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, during which we have supported businesses and the self-employed in difficulty, the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises has managed to stabilise the length of time it takes to process business permit applications and analyse the applications within a reasonable period of time, which the statistics show. We will continue to commit to optimising the processing time, in particular by strengthening the staff of the competent service, while maintaining an in-depth analysis of applications for business permits”.
Despite the challenging economic context, the number of business permit applications only slightly decreased (down 6.4%) compared to 2019. The General Directorate received a total of 11,245 business permit requests in 2020 (compared to 12,014 in 2019), including 7,131 requests in the trade sector (7,905 in 2019), 3,624 requests in the crafts sector (3,507 in 2019) and 490 requests for the exercise of a liberal profession (602 in 2019).
The General Directorate also issued 4,663 certificates to cross-border craft businesses which provide services in Luxembourg. This corresponds to a drop of 9.9% (compared to 5,175 in 2019), which is largely attributed to travel restrictions and border controls by the French, Belgian and German authorities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.