The Joint Chambers of Commerce and the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers, have reiterated their support for Government, and restated their commitment to collaborating, to steer the country through the current COVID-19 crisis.
The full text of the Joint Statement, follows…
The Joint Chambers of Commerce, in collaboration with the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers, recognize that this is an unsettling time for everyone. It also presents a unique and challenging business environment, and this is likely to be exacerbated by the necessary restrictions on the movement of people.
In particular, we acknowledge the advent of COVID-19 creates an unusual set of circumstances for families. This is a human issue that demands a human response, and we must work collectively to ensure that families are supported and secure during this period of uncertainty. The Chambers are deeply committed to keeping our people safe and healthy and to stopping the spread of the virus.
In this regard, the various Chambers are actively collaborating with Government to initiate steps to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the working population and to guide and support its members to addressing the issue of business continuity. We support recent measures by the Ministry of Health to curtail large gatherings, to close schools and to implement travel restrictions. These are both sensible and responsible decisions.
Following the Ministry of Labour and Small, Medium and Enterprise Development’s appeal for private sector to implement leave policies that facilitate parents who need to stay at home to look after their children, the Prime Minister has announced that schools will now remain closed, for four weeks, until April 20th. The Chambers support the suggestion that businesses look at creative options to maintain operations during this period, with the aim of preserving jobs and keeping businesses alive.
COVID-19 places additional pressures to the ease and cost of doing business. The Chambers are optimistic that the discussions initiated between Government and private sector, will be treated with requisite urgency and create the appropriate mechanisms to support the continuity of trade and thereby employment, over the next few weeks.
It is clearly not business as usual. It is in fact a new normal for us, and for trade across the globe. We cannot do it alone. We will rely on our Government, the private sector and our community to continue working together. This is a time for constructive conversation and decisive action, and we are encouraged by the willingness and commitment of the Chambers and Government to find thoughtful and informed solutions to the current challenges.