A failure to deliver a rates relief amid the coronavirus outbreak could be "fatal" for small companies, a Northern Ireland businessman has said.
Tom McMullan, a former senior civil servant turned consultant, said the Assembly must ensure the Department of Finance (DoF) delivers parity with England.
Mr McMullan's comments come a day after 16 businesses and chambers of commerce called for the support introduced by the Chancellor in his Budget for businesses in England - including the 100% rates holiday, grants scheme and a rates discount for pubs - to be extended to Northern Ireland.
Finance Minister Conor Murphy has said such a measure would cost the economy here £200m.
"The retail sector in Northern Ireland goes into this virus situation in a much weaker position than it would have had it not been for the rating policies of the DoF," said Mr McMullan.
"We need for Mr Murphy not to be talking about doing less than in England, but recognising that as a result of their historical actions they need to be doing more."
When the Budget was revealed, Mr Murphy said that "with finite resources and infinite demands, myself and ministerial colleagues will take a collective approach to prioritisation, making the best possible use of the available resources".