IHK makes an economic analysis of the Ahr valley

Koblenz / Dolina Ahr.
July 14, 2022 is the anniversary of the Ahr Valley Flood. About 800 IHK member companies have been severely damaged or destroyed. The discussion with IHK Koblenz was about today’s economic situation.

“Last year, at future conferences, there were many ideas for redevelopment or new construction,” recalls IHK Vice President Jörg Schäfer, who was also hit by the floods running the REWE store in Bad Neuenahr. “With all good ideas it is important that they are not forgotten, but implemented quickly.” Rapid deployment is also a key word for infrastructure: “Roads, paths, sewerage and district heating now need to be repaired. Only in this way can trade and tourism be revived. ”

The deadline is mid next year

Jörg Schäfer urges companies to apply for reconstruction aid to the Rhineland-Palatinate Investment and Structure Bank (ISB) as soon as possible. ISB received a total of 265 applications from interested companies and freelancers across Rhineland-Palatinate. “This is definitely not enough. Time is pressing, ”says Schäfer. The application deadline is June 30, 2023. “A year has passed, companies should not underestimate how much time it may take to prepare a report.”

Due to the complicated process of applying for reconstruction aid, the vice president of IHK appeals to the companies: “We will not leave you alone with the application – contact the IHK and get support!”. In total, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce conducted over 3,000 consultations during the year, both through the flood hotline of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, as well as in the regional branch of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or in local companies. The IHK discusses individual cases in regular rounds of exchange directly with the ISB, the Ministry of Economy and other chambers. In thirty companies, IHK volunteer guides with their experience as former or active entrepreneurs and directors were able to provide assistance where it is urgently needed.

Especially for companies that have not yet applied for development aid, IHK organizes joint, free consultation days with HwK, the Ministry of Economy, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Rhineland-Palatinate Investment and Structures Bank (ISB). at the Ahr Academy in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler.

The promise of quick and non-bureaucratic help from politicians raised high expectations. “But companies are now realizing that they are only partially met and that many things are returning to the usual bureaucratic approval processes,” says IHK regional consultant Anne Glück. In particular, in construction law, decisions have to be made faster.

relief for companies

It would be a relief for companies to extend the payment of benefits such as short-term work benefits and compensation for loss of income. “Twelve or six months are not enough. Many companies will not be able to reopen until next year due to major structural challenges. But here politics is hiding behind EU directives, rather than opening up perspectives such as new special funding programs, ”says Glück.

Another factor that makes it difficult for companies to rebuild is a payback of only 80%. Present Value: “It is unrealistic to use this to rebuild the business, the victims have to take out large loans,” explains a regional consultant.

Tourism is an important economic factor in the Ahr Valley: “Companies in the hotel and catering sector in particular have taken out large loans to ensure their guests’ well-being and make the Ahr Valley look in a new splendor. There are offers everywhere for new hiking trails or excursion destinations that have not been hit by the flooding because everything else takes too long. ‘

At present, it is particularly important for trade to re-adopt the tourist offer. “Many developed new concepts that started with, or were more focused on, online trading,” adds Jörg Schäfer. “Here it is especially important that the streets are not torn apart again just when dealers are ready to go out again.”

Locations secured against flooding are urgently needed

The industry depends on flood-proof commercial areas. Here, too, companies complain that decision-making processes take too long. In addition, problems with the supply of machines are noticeable: “Many thanks to many domestic companies that showed great solidarity and even supported their competitors with storage space and machine efficiency. But now it is also necessary to identify new commercial space on site, ”says Glück.

Companies that need support with the application or have other concerns about the reconstruction can contact the IHK regional office in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, the central helpline (0261-106-502) or by email at fluthilfe@koblenz.ihk. The next days of consultation are July 27, September 14, and October 26. 2022 or upon request.

In addition, the IHK – also in cooperation with local partners – offers numerous events for companies in the Ahrweiler district on flood recovery: www.ihk.de/koblenz/andieahrbeit.

press release

IHK Koblenz

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