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More than 500 local businesses in Fiji have indicated they may face bankruptcy if the COVID-19 pandemic continues for another six months.
Minister for Commerce and Trade Faiyaz Koya revealed this in parliament today while responding to a question on the purpose of the Business Survey the Ministry conducted in partnership with International Finance Corporation
Koya said over 3, 500 businesses from across all the sectors participated in the survey.
The Minister highlighted that majority of the businesses surveyed were micro and small enterprises.
Koya said 71 percent of the respondents stated that their business was stable and thriving before the pandemic.
These businesses were able to set aside cash reserves adding that this was also a reflection of their ten-year unprecedented economic growth.
Koya said following the pandemic the entire business landscape changed.
“The results reveal that the main impacts felt have been depletion in cash flows to adequately manage the business operations or service their debt, inability to fully operate all the functions of the business just because of reduced hours of operations and canceled or delayed capital works, difficulty in managing or retaining employees and customers and concern in supply and cost in raw materials.”
He said over 1,000 businesses have indicated a substantial loss in revenue.
Meanwhile, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has brushed aside Fiji Trade Union Congress National Secretary Felix Anthony’s criticism of COVID-19 being declared an act of God.
Parliament Thursday passed amendments to the Employment Relations Act which states that an act of God includes a pandemic as declared by the World Health Organisation.
Anthony then released a statement saying the “pandemic is man-made, and China is not located in heaven. The lockdowns were imposed by governments, not God.”
Sayed-Khaiyum said this is irrelevant in the face of the hardships faced by Fijians during the COVID-19 crisis.
“If you look at comments that have come out from the trade unions, in particular people like Felix – I understand he’s sort of disappeared for the past couple of months, apparently nobody can get in touch with him – but he’s come out and made this statement. I don’t know what’s driving him. I’m not sure what he’s motivations are and I’m not really concerned about what he thinks about China or his vision of God”.
The Minister adds there has been nothing constructive from Anthony and other unionists while the government has been trying to lift the confidence of employers and employees..
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
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