A report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause a major shrink in the territory’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year.
GDP is the total value of goods and services (economic output) provided in a country each year.
Disclosing some of the findings of the UNDP’s HEAT Report for the BVI this week, Premier Andrew said the impact was mostly felt in the territory’s tourism sector, which accounts for roughly a third of GDP.
“This has resulted in a considerable slowdown in business activity in the tourism industry itself and related industries, which in turn has induced a dramatic spike in unemployment and social dislocations. The HEAT Report projects a GDP decline of 13 percent to 17 percent in 2020, given the current prevailing conditions in the tourism sector,” Fahie said while speaking at the launch ceremony for the report.
This major percentage decline in GDP may very well see a smaller-than-usual budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The 2021 budget is expected to be announced next month.
In the meantime, Fahie said the purpose of the HEAT Report is to ‘paint a picture’ of the virus’ impact on the BVI society, taking into account its initial spread to our islands and the wider Caribbean region.
“The HEAT Report has helped to guide my government’s COVID-19 response and remains a reference point as we fine-tune our policy prescriptions to drive our recovery from the global pandemic,” Fahie stated.
Fahie said government will make the full report public soon.
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