Vanuatu government has done a good job by ensuring that Vanuatu has remained COVID-19 free. It is of utmost importance for the population of the nation to maintain health and there should not be any trade-off between health and economics.
The government of Vanuatu managed to maintain a clean bill of health without the economic fallout resulting from COVID-19. The Ministry of Finance has recommended not to collect any renewal fees of business licenses to work permits. There is no doubt that businesses in Vanuatu are suffering without tourists.
In a recent survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in December 2020, 42% of businesses survive using the owners’ savings. Business owners and stakeholders have done their very best to keep as many staff as possible under employment, but we all understand this type of survival mode is not sustainable. Vanuatu was lucky to be able to generate substantial cash income from the citizenship program last year. This has made Vanuatu a very unique fiscal position compared to other countries.
The recent rollout of vaccines globally will provide a clear light at the end of the tunnel as borders will be re-opened soon. If we were to score countries around the world for how they have coped with this crisis, Vanuatu would have top of the list that there has been no COVID-19 here, and the economic disruption has been fairly limited.