Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy have been significant.

In his address to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Prime Minister Sogavare says that by mid-2021 the Solomon Islands balance of trade deficit was around SBD$96 million, SBD$24 million higher than the previous month.

“This is a substantial amount for our small economy. This negative outcome stemmed from a larger fall in exports by 13% against a marginal decline in imports by 1%. Restrictions on international travel into the country has also impacted heavily on the tourism industry forcing tourism operators to drastically scale down their operations,” the Prime Minister said.

“We implemented ‘economic stimulus packages’ to drive the productive sectors. We launched our ‘Umi Tugeda tourism” initiative. We drove several transformational and ‘game changing’ national projects to boost the economy and provide employment opportunities for our people as we try to stabilize our economy.”

Prime Minister Sogavare says that the Pacific Labour Scheme, implemented with support from donor partners, has provided much needed employment, and contributes to economic recovery efforts of his government.

“We have reached new heights in our partnership with Australia in labour mobility for which we are thankful. These partnerships put human faces to our relationships with Australia, New Zealand, Canada in the labour mobility front.”