ECONOMIC RECOVERY REQUIRES URGENT AND COMPREHENSIVE INTERVENTIONS
“Urgent and comprehensive interventions are required if jobs are to be preserved if the most vulnerable groups are to be protected and if an economic downturn in Bosnia and Herzegovina is to be prevented”. This is a conclusion of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Assessment which has been presented in Sarajevo today. The Assessment was conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in BiH on behalf of the United Nations Country Team.
Over the past several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global economy and its consequences are particularly visible in developing countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The objective of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Assessment is to develop a comprehensive overview of the consequences of this calamity, with a special emphasis on vulnerable groups and economic branches. The key indicators of the Assessment show that industries related to hospitality and catering, food services and transportation have suffered by far the most negative consequences, while the textile and metal industries have suffered serious disturbances in supply chains. It is also alarming that in the industries hit hardest by the pandemic – accommodation and food services – 43% of all companies believe that they will be forced to close within the next 3 months.
“We are pleased to be able to show how the United Nation’s global blueprint for socio-economic recovery is being translated to the realties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today’s presentation is the first of a number of assessments that we hope will inform and assist all actors in their recovery planning and actions, especially the important work being undertaken by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and international partners. For the United Nations in BiH, our overall focus is how we can support and contribute to all efforts to build back better, green, and inclusively with a focus on Agenda2030and ensuring no one is left behind”, said Ms. Ingrid Macdonald, the UN Resident Coordinator in BiH.
Following the United Nations Secretary-General’s socio-economic recovery plan “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity”, the assessments are part of the integrated support package that the United Nations are leveraging across its agencies, funds, and programs. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, UNDP acts in a technical leadership role, as given with the global framework, and is using its integrating platform to help shape together with a strong, substantive programmatic response to the Covid-19 impacts.
“This Assessment comes at the right moment and is extremely important as we know that accurate, consistent, timely, and transparent information is key to taking proper steps in a response to the current crisis. It provides an insight that is necessary for understanding the various aspects of the crisis and reducing negative economic impacts already affecting enterprises, institutions, communities, and particularly vulnerable persons whose jobs and quality of lives are jeopardized. It is certain that a response aimed at preserving the economy requires cooperation between all levels of government and stakeholders operating in different areas – the government, the business environment, financial institutions, and international organizations”, said Steliana Nadera, UNDP Resident Representative in BiH.
The UNDP’s platform “Economic Pulse of BiH” which provides real-time insight into the economy and BiH economic recovery measures, thanks to the information gathered from over 1,000 companies across the country, was used as a basis for the Assessment.
Based on the gathered information, most of the representatives of businesses included in the survey are planning to take measures in the next 3 to 6 months to cut labor costs, like pay cuts or dismissals. Nevertheless, the same companies are optimistic that such measures will be temporary. The primary data also shows that women, both workers and company owners, are hit by the negative impacts of the pandemic harder than men.
Over 120 representatives of all levels of government in BiH, international financial institutions, embassies, agencies, and associations/chambers of commerce participated in the online presentation of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Assessment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.