NEWS

$102.7million Boost To Address Employment Impacts Of COVID-19

The immense social and economic impact of COVID-19 have brought Fiji’s tourism sector to a virtual standstill have been exacerbated by a staggering five tropical cyclones since January 2020: including two severe Category Five cyclones.
11 Feb 2021 10:39
$102.7million Boost To Address Employment Impacts Of COVID-19

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$50 million ($102.7 million) Credit to support Fiji’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and severe tropical cyclones Harold and Yasa.

The project has a special focus on women who have been disproportionally affected by the crisis.

In the past 12 months, Fiji has experienced an extraordinary hit from external shocks.

The immense social and economic impact of COVID-19 have brought Fiji’s tourism sector to a virtual standstill have been exacerbated by a staggering five tropical cyclones since January 2020: including two severe Category Five cyclones.

These external shocks have resulted in an economic contraction of 19 percent in 2020 and a rise in unemployment to 27 percent – the most severe contraction in Fiji’s history.

In response to these challenges, the Fiji Social Protection COVID-19 Response and System Development Project – which is the first project announced following the recent approval of the World Bank Group’s new Country Partnership Framework for Fiji – will support the government’s COVID-19 relief measures, with a particular focus on cash transfers targeting Fijians in the formal sector who have lost their jobs or have had their working reduced hours as a result of COVID-19 through the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).

Complementing the support to unemployment assistance, the project will also assist the Government through strengthening the country’s social protection system and facilitating access to social protection services for all Fijians.

The project will support the development of an Adaptive Social Protection Strategy for Fiji to improve adaptation to future shocks, strengthen data sharing protocols for systems interoperability, enhance social protection delivery systems to support vulnerable groups affected by the social and economic crisis and natural disasters.

The project will also improve access to labour market services and employment support programs to support informal sector workers.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said: “Faced with either a barrage of cyclones or the collapse of our tourism markets on their own would be crippling for the Fijian economy. To face both economic crises concurrently is almost unfathomable, and the economic consequences have been devastating for Fijian families.

“This capital infusion into Fiji’s social protection systems is a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable Fijians in our formal and informal sectors who need urgent assistance and will also allow us to establish robust mechanisms that will serve as our first defence against future external shocks.”

World Bank Resident Representative for the South Pacific Lasse Melgaard said: “This support of FJ$102.7 million is part of our commitment through the World Bank Group’s new workplan for Fiji. We are proud to be providing ongoing support to complement the Fijian Government’s vigorous COVID-19 response and efforts to recover from the dual shocks of COVID-19 and recent cyclones.”

 



Five Square diwali dhamaka 2021


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
FNPF
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper