The Leader of the Independent Group is deeply concern about the impact of COVID 19 or better known as the novel coronavirus on the economy of the country.
Honorable Robertson Galokale said while he appreciates the government’s imposed travel restrictions to “restricted and affected countries” including the People’s Republic of China (PRC), China is an important trading partner of Solomon Islands.
Galokale highlighted that the country’s logging sector will be the hardest hit.
“Our logging sector is expected to contract for a third consecutive year as stated by the Minister of Finance in his 2020 budget address in parliament where he pointed out that the growth in the sector was estimated to further contract by an average of -7% from 2020 up to 2024,” Galokale revealed.
Galokale reiterated that the logging sector accounts for 20% of domestic revenue, 60% of exports and 32% of total foreign exchange receipts.
The Leader of Independent further stated that the impact of COVID 19 on the global supply chain is expected to peak around mid-March.
“This is also a worrying factor as we are amongst the most vulnerable countries in the world who is heavily reliant on factories in China for food imports, parts and materials,” Honorable Robertson Galokale added.
Galokale pointed out that with much of China under present lockdown, the virus could affect up to 42% of the country’s economy, and this could inevitably have an economic toll on our country.
Galokale added that the outbreak now tends to be more persistent and widespread raising even more fears around its containment and economic impact as the race to find a vaccine for the virus is still months away.
“According to recent health announcements by health authorities in America, it will take up to more than a year to identify and proof a cure for the deadly virus,” the Leader of the Independent Group stated.
Honorable Robertson Galokale said given the sense that the virus could swell into a global crisis, the government must be prepared for a fallback plan.
Galokale pointed out that any fallback plan must be one that is achievable, sustainable and most importantly, workable.
Galokale said there are signs already of few shops running out of imported goods.
The Independent Leader added when imported goods are short in supply, this will likely to beep up prices which inevitably force customers to dig deeper into their pockets.
The Independent Leader calls on government to seriously devise an alternative plan for a protracted COVID 19 global situation.
“A plan that will cushion the negative impact of the travel ban currently enforced for China,” Honorable Robertson Galokale concluded.