Solomon Islands has lost millions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of the recent covid-19 lockdowns imposed at the beginning of community transmission last month.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced the staggering figures in his address to the nation.

According to Sogavare, preliminary findings from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) show the direct loss of tax revenues during the most recent lockdown (25-30 January) averaged around SBD$10.6 million (US$1.3 million) a day.

The impact of the county-wide lockdown on the economy was estimated at approximately SBD$25 million (US$3 million) per day, with the output loss for Honiara alone, estimated at around SBD$14 million (US$1.7 million) per day.

During the January lockdown, CBSI witnessed sharp contractions across all sectors with the services sector experiencing losses of SBD$13 million (US$1.6 million) per day, with significant falls in the retail and wholesale, public administration, and transportation sectors.

The manufacturing sector was the second largest hit, with estimated daily losses of around SBD$8 million(US$990,000).

Similarly, the agriculture sector lost an estimated SBD$4 million(US$495,000) per day, due mainly to a sharp drop in the forestry sub-sector.

The immediate “knock-on loss effect” in other provinces was estimated at around SBD$10 million (US$1.2 million), in line with supply chain disruptions.

Sogavare said the government, however, is focused hard on mitigating and managing this crisis whilst at the same time resuscitating and growing the local economy.

The Policy, Implementation and Evaluation Unit has completed a Community Transmission Response Policy Paper that provides for overarching objectives to guide the way forward during this trying time. This policy paper has a number of strategies which will spearhead our general policy approach in dealing with the COVID-19 community transmission we are currently facing.

It provides guidance to support implementation of high-level strategic objectives that will compliment overarching priorities and establish the basis on which National and Health Response Plans can be aligned to target cross-sectoral outcomes that will also be reflected in the 2022 Budget Strategy. SOURCE: SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/PACNEWS

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