Negative impact

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COVID-19 continues to have a negative impact on businesses overall as borders remain closed, however the severity of its impact on businesses has slightly improved.

The 10th PTI Pacific Business Monitor has reported the lowest percentage of revenue decline, as well as negative impacts caused by COVID-19, since tracking began in May last year.

According to the latest report the ongoing pandemic continues to severely effect businesses across the Pacific with the first survey of 2021 also reflecting declines in access to and satisfaction with government support, business survival confidence and expectations of returning to business as usual in 2021.

PTI Australia Trade Commissioner Caleb Jarvis said uncertainty of how long the crisis would last and the impact of closed international borders remained the paramount challenges faced by Pacific businesses.

The report shows that 95 per cent of businesses in Fiji reported a decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19 however, the severity of revenue impact has worsened, with 91 per cent of businesses in Fiji reporting a significant decline.

Meanwhile 61 per cent of Fijian businesses are confident that their business will survive the COVID-19 crisis (down from 78 per cent last wave).

Newly appointed PTI New Zealand office trade commissioner Glynis Miller said “the results are not surprising as they do reflect real challenges faced by a large majority of SMEs”.

“When the accumulative data is reviewed month on end, we note the consistent pinch points faced by SMEs – the tough decisions taken to reduce operational costs, reduce working hours and diversify their services or products.

“That said, within the data collected there is evidence of businesses having performed exceptionally well throughout COVID-19 where production and export levels have increased substantially compared to the same period last year,” she said.

The COVID-19 situation has presented opportunities along with their own peculiar challenges most of which is being addressed at the regional level.

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