Wednesday 17 February, Honiara – Business confidence at many areas of the economy is
at a record low, a new survey has indicated.
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) 2020 Business
Confidence Survey suggests that most businesses (43%) expect their business situation to
remain the same during the next six (6) months due to the Coronavirus global pandemic.
Twenty three percent (23%) of respondents to the survey expect their situation to deteriorate
while twenty-eight (28%) remain optimistic of an improved business situation for this year,
The survey, conducted among 46 businesses in December 2020, covered all the industry
sectors and different business sizes based on the number of employees.
Thirty-two percent (32%) of respondents expect no improvement in the local business
environment in Solomon Islands saying it will remain the same, while another thirty-two
(32%) expects the general business situation to deteriorate.
Ms Natalina Hong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SICCI, said: “In many instances, these
results are a cause for concern and that is why it is critical that Government create the right
settings for future private sector growth to bolster the COVID-19 recovery and support
“As a Chamber, we believe all stakeholders including Government will need to work together
to find a better path to follow where the right balance between managing the health and
security challenges while also addressing the economic hits.
The survey found the shortage of Finance (30%) and Demand (32%) are among the main
factors most limiting business ability to expand activities.
The survey also found that businesses are finding it harder to get skilled or specialist labour
but easier to get unskilled Labour.
SICCI CEO, Ms Hong said that this survey results highlighted again the growing challenge of
unemployment now facing the Solomon Islands economy.
She added: “There is a clear warning that a possible rise in unemployment is now inevitable
as businesses adjust to a new normal.
The survey highlighted that thirty-six percent (36%) reported a reduction of fulltime
employees in the last 12 months, while more than half of the respondents (57%) reported
also a reduction in profitability.
“The immediate priority for many businesses is survival.”
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Sixty percent (60%) of businesses that participated in the survey reported a need for
improvement in Government services while thirty-five percent (35%) stated it has worsened
in the past 12 months.
As for this year (the next 12 months), thirty-five percent (35%) expects Government services
to remain the same, forty-two percent (42%) expected it to worsen and twenty-two percent
(22%) are hoping for improvements.
The survey further highlighted that fifty-six (56%) of businesses expect changes in
Government policy and budget in response to COVID-19 to have a negative effect on their
businesses. Twenty-three percent (23%) expect positive effects while eight (8%) expected
no effect at all.
Forty-one percent (41%) have high confidence their business will survive the extended State
of Public Emergency (SOPE) while thirty-four percent (34%) have moderate confidence and
ten percent (10%) low confidence.
SICCI has conducted the Business Confidence Survey annually since 2017.
SICCI Membership and Services Officer, Ms Naomi Mara, who takes lead in conducting
Chamber surveys, said this exercise is a pulse-test to identify the level of business
confidence perceived by participating members from within the Chamber’s diverse
The survey identifies trends and conditions in the private sector. Increased business
confidence is an indicator of economic growth, associated with increased spending and
more economic activity. On the other hand, a decrease in business confidence may indicate
a slowing of the economy.
“The data gathered enables the Chamber to consolidate business experience that informs
how it progresses issues with Government. The outlook for business, also informs the wider
private sector and partners to Government, of the standing of the economy as a whole,” Ms
This issue marks the fourth SICCI Business Confidence Survey.