Businesses continue to face the financial impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, according to a latest survey conducted by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI).
A total of sixty-four (64) businesses, a majority of them being Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), participated in the survey which closed on 26 June 2020.
This is the second survey the Chamber has conducted on its members and the wider business community in its efforts to identify key challenges faced by businesses as a result of COVID-19 considering the important role that businesses play in creating jobs, in long-lasting economic growth, development and prosperity.
Ninety-seven percent (97%) of respondents reported COVID-19 having a financial impact on their business with forty-seven percent (47%) reported high financial impact.
Further, twenty-six percent (26%) do not have access to any funding to manage this impact.
The survey also reported that financial aid such as interest-free loans, rent/loan/tax holiday remains the main business need during this time.
Although most (77%) did not experience any increase in council rates charged to their business, twenty-three percent (23%) did report an increase while one respondent noted an increase of up to seventy percent (70%).
The survey noted that the Government’s Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) is offering some relief for struggling businesses.
The ESP’s Soft Measures, a $25 million allocation for tariff reduction, rental relief and loan repayment relief, is identified to be the most helpful by forty percent (40%) of respondents.
“Immediate recovery measures ($70 million) is identified as second most helpful at twenty-seven percent. The medium to long-term support for growth stimulation ($90 million) is the third most helpful at twenty-three percent” the SICCI survey reported.
Over half of the respondents (57%) state that the general situation of their business is the same since the last SICCI survey whereas, thirty-four percent (34%) report that their general business situation had worsened. Only nine percent (9%) state that the general business situation for their business had improved since the last survey which was conducted in May 2020.