A latest survey shows 74 per cent of businesses in the Cook Islands are confident that they will survive the Covid-19 crisis.
Covid-19 has caused a global health emergency and an economic slowdown
impacting millions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the
April, the Pacific Trade Invest Network has regularly reached out to SMEs
across the sixteen Forum Island nations.
particular emphasis on the Cook Islands Business Survey Report PTI NZ reached
out to the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce to get their thoughts on the
results, and what measures they had put in place to mitigate the economic
disruption to their economy and peoples.
to chief executive officer Eve Hayden, the PTI Network Pacific Business Monitor
survey results indicate accurately what is happening on the ground in the Cook
2020 when the first PTI Network Pacific Business Monitor results were released
,the top three challenges as a result of Covid-19 were impact of closed
international borders; not knowing how long the crisis will last; and poor cash
indicators have not changed since then across all the Blue Pacific nations.
latest survey reports 91 per cent of businesses reported a negative impact due
to Covid-19. The extent and severity of the pandemic worsened in October with
61 per cent reporting a very negative impact.
(93) per cent Cook Island businesses reported a decline in revenue, this is the
highest response since tracking began. The impact on revenue has also increased
in severity, with the proportion of businesses reporting a significant decline
in revenue increasing to 70 per cent.
continues to be a major issue with Hayden advising last week the Cook Islands
Chamber of Commerce submitted their latest recommendations to the government
which include one-off grants to qualifying businesses, insurance-specific
grants, and reducing the thresholds for qualifying for the wage subsidy.
says the insurance-specific grants were included as they have recognised that
businesses with no cash flow are having to slash further operating costs and
insurance is a large cost to business.
recommended reducing the thresholds for qualifying for the wage subsidy as many
businesses are failing to demonstrate a 50 per cent in revenue, however they
are still operating at a loss. The risk of not adjusting this will be further
Pacific Business Monitor Cook Island focussed report also showed the negative
toll on business owners with 67 per cent reporting a negative impact on their
mental health, the highest since tracking began.
says that mental health has been a big factor in the Cook Islands.
the border is going to open and then having to change as the situation in NZ
changes has been challenging. The
Private Sector Taskforce has organised a series of mental health workshops for
both businesses and employees, which have been well attended and appreciated.”
health concerns are now coming to the forefront as all annual specialist visits
from outside of the Cook Islands have been cancelled and many New Zealand
medical appointments are now well overdue.
is no way of knowing time-frames for disruptions to business and health and we
have had some stop/starts as a safe corridor to NZ is being planned and each
time the situation in New Zealand
changes, especially as it has done in the last 28 days we have to reset and
readjust our timeline expectations for that. That is wearying and worrying.”
Miller, Acting Trade Commissioner for PTI NZ says, “Obviously closed borders
are taking a toll on businesses in the region. With the corridor between New
Zealand and the Cook Islands nearing government’s decision this will have a
positive impact on the Cook Islands’ economy.
positive note 74 per cent of businesses in the Cook Islands are confident that
they will survive the Covid-19 crisis. This is six percent higher in comparison
to the Pacific as a whole.
is upbeat, “All in all, the Cook Islands have been in a fairly good economic
position compared with other Pacifica countries as the financial prudence
measures put in place when the economy was booming are not being used to
implement some social protection measures, along with some much needed support
for the private sector.”
readiness of the private sector to resume business-as-usual once the border
opens, will be pivotal to the resumption of tax collection and payments which
in turn will provide the Government with much-needed income.”
2020, the Cook Islands Government’s Covid-19 Economic Response Plan (ERP) Phase
I was enacted and July 1 saw the Cook Islands Government’s Covid-19 ERP enter
Phase II– this was a $76m plan providing comprehensive financial support to
carry the country towards a post-Covid-19 future.
second ERP focussed on keeping the wage subsidy and sole trade grants, but also
introduced some stabilisation measures such as low interest loans to deal with
continue operating losses, and heavy interest subsidisation of loan-related
says, “not all the countries have been able to respond as quickly as the Cook
Islands have to ensure their economy doesn’t enter a recession. The Cook
Islands Chamber of Commerce has played a key role in linking economic assistance
with the wider private sector community. We’re glad our Pacific Business
Monitor survey and reports have been helpful to decision makers during this