‘COVID effect’ on business investment and expansion

Uncertainty remains one of the biggest challenge businesses operating in the Solomon Islands face during this COVID-19 global pandemic.

This uncertainty over the impact of COVID-19 is hindering the expansion of investment opportunities, a third COVID-19 Enterprise Survey conducted by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), has revealed.

SICCI reiterates that uncertainty is one area that is quite challenging as we do not know how long this pandemic will be around for and we do not know what will happen to our economy.

SICCI, as the peak body representing private sector, has around 200 members covering approximately 80 percent of the Solomon Islands private sector workforce.

43% of the SICCI membership (86 businesses) participated in this survey which was conducted online between 14th July and 17th August 2021.

A high rate of responses from the survey highlighted that expansion and investment decisions have been delayed due to international travel restrictions, hindering development plans as consultants, directors, investors, visitors and tourists are unable to enter the country.

Survey results show that seventy-one percent (71%) of businesses have postponed expansion/investment decisions due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis while twenty-nine percent (29%) stated no expansion and/or investment decisions have been made.

Cash-flow restraints due to COVID-19 was identified to be a major impact that has led to expansion and/or investment decisions to be postponed.

“Forty-one percent (41%) of business have experienced high financial impact on business and disruption to operations, thirty-eight (38%) have reported experiencing medium impact while sixteen (16%) have reported low impact.

“Twenty-seven percent (27%) of businesses saw no change in revenue in the first quarter of 2021 and thirty-two percent (32%) saw no change in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year,” the Survey reported.

However, twenty-six (26%) saw a significant decrease in revenue in the first quarter while twenty-nine percent (29%) saw a significant decrease in the second quarter of 2021.

Twenty-six (26%) of businesses who responded experienced a moderate decrease of revenue in the first quarter and nineteen percent in the second quarter of 2021. Only twenty-one percent (21%) of businesses have seen a moderate increase in revenue in the first half of this year compared to 2020.

Twenty-one percent (21%) of respondents were large businesses employing more than 100 employees while majority of survey participants are small businesses with 1-9 employees at 47%, followed by Small Medium businesses with 10-49 employees at 26%.

Participating businesses were from the Technology, Banking and Financial services and professional Services, Agribusiness, Tourism sector, Wholesale and Retail, Printing/Stationary, Advertising Media and Health services sectors.

To support a majority of members, SICCI continues to provide services of COVID19 updated information, digital trainings and advocacy dialogue in national platform for the inclusion of private sector view in policy changes while keeping the business community connected.

–SICCI Media

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