Vanuatu's Salwai announces 'Covid-19' stimulus package

Richard Butler | Exclusive By RNZ News |Photo Courtesy: Johnny Blades | April 1st, 2020

Vanuatu’s caretaker prime minister has announced a $US32 million stimulus package to support the country’s economy during the Covid-19 global pandemic.

In a national address, Charlot Salwai said the funding was intended to support the economy in difficult times and bring some comfort to many who were already suffering.

Mr Salwai said the global spread of Covid-19 presents a potentially catastrophic outlook for both public health and the economy.

With the economies of Vanuatu’s major trading partners effectively locked down, substantial restrictions on crossing international borders, and the prospect of a global contraction, we are now looking at much lower economic in 2020 than we have forecasted at budget time.”

He said the official economic growth forecast for 2020 has now been revised from 3.8 percent to 1.9 percent.

Mr Salwai warned that given the highly uncertain nature of the pandemic, Vanuatu must be prepared for a scenario where growth falls even further.

Vanuatu currently has no confirmed cases of Covid-19.