Pacific businesses still feel brunt of pandemic

The extent and severity of COVID-19 on Pacific businesses has worsened, with 75 per cent reporting a negative impact. Picture: FILE

The extent and severity of COVID-19 on Pacific businesses has worsened, with 75 per cent reporting a negative impact (up from 72 per cent last wave, according to the Pacific Trade Invest’s (Australia) Pacific Business Monitor for November.

PTI Australia highlighted that the COVID-19 outbreak caused a global health emergency and an economic slowdown impacting millions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world, including the Pacific region.

It said as international tourism played a major role in local Pacific economies, travel bans and restrictions on gatherings in particular were affecting businesses across this region.

According to PTI the seventeenth wave of PTI’s Pacific Business Monitor survey includes responses gathered from 1 to 16 November 2021, from 129 businesses across the Pacific region, including 70 female-led/owned businesses.

In terms of impact on the businesses, the report noted that 71 per cent of businesses reported a decline in revenue because of COVID-19 (down from 72 per cent last wave), the lowest since tracking began while 76 per cent are confident that their business will survive the COVID-19 crisis (down from 85 per cent last wave).

Some of the challenges facing these SMEs include not knowing how long the crisis will last (87 per cent), impact of closed international borders (82 per cent), increasing costs of products/raw materials (78 per cent).

Meanwhile the top four initiatives businesses require assistance with are financial support (45 per cent), diversify business (37 per cent), access to new markets (33 per cent), online commerce capabilities (26 per cent). Out of those businesses surveyed, 49 per cent of female-led businesses report having barriers that prevent them actioning initiatives to support their business, compared with 34 per cent of male-led businesses.

The report also raised concerns at the increase on the negative toll on mental health because of the impact on business decision-makers.

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