Negative growth forecast for Samoan economy due to impact of COVID-19

The economy of Samoa is expecting a negative growth rate of 3.3% in the current 2019/20 fiscal year.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said, “while Samoa and most of the Pacific have been spared from the virus so far, we are already feeling the impacts on our small economies.”

He made the statement at the International Labour Organisation Global Leaders Day Virtual Summit, yesterday (Tuesday).

PM Tuilaepa said the COVID-19 situation also came as Samoa was still responding and recovering from another health crisis – the 2019 measles epidemic that took 83 lives and affected over 5,000 people.

“The pandemic has exacerbated our unique and particular vulnerabilities as we also continue to face the threats of natural disasters.”

He said, the Government took early measures to ensure adequate support in particular towards households and workers with family responsibilities to lessen the economic impact of the crisis.

“On 7 April, government launched Phase 1 of its Stimulus Package totalling SAT$66.3 million focusing on health, private sector, food security in the agriculture sectors, securing the purchasing power of people; and a multi-sectoral response programme.”

“On 26 May, the 2nd Phase was announced totalling SAT$32 million with more targeted support for social protection measures to the vulnerable groups.”

“These included for the first time ever, provision of ‘unemployment’ subsidies for those who have lost jobs or have reduced hours because of the COVID-19,” he added.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the projections for Samoa’s economy in the new fiscal year show a negative growth of 2% due to the uncertain economic conditions in the global and regional markets.

“There is uncertainty also as to when our borders will fully reopen as the adverse impacts on our tourism industry and trade are already felt.”

“We are reliant on our sector wide approach and finding innovative solutions to address the socio-economic impacts of the COVID 19.
As we start to repatriate most of our stranded citizens we maintain caution and continue to rely on our neighbours and partners to support our ongoing efforts.”

According to the Samoan Prime Minister, innovative responses to global challenges are now coming from emerging development partners and smaller players who have better managed the pandemic and who, in turn, may become strategic partners for other developing countries.

“In the spirit of global solidarity, the ILO could offer an opportunity for its Member States to exchange experiences in preserving access to decent work during crisis,” he said.



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