Cabo Verde’s deputy prime minister and Minister of Finance, Olavo Correia, said on Tuesday that in the next three months the governance of Cabo Verde will have to be conducted without considering statistics and ratios, and should focus its attention on people.
Correia was summarising a meeting of the Social Consultation Council (CCS), which adopted a tri-partite agreement including fiscal, financial and social security measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, protect employment and companies and keep the economy in operation.
The minister added that all the measures adopted, in terms of public policy, using taxpayer resources, with the single purpose of guaranteeing employment and access to income so families can overcome this difficult time, which he called an “economic tsunami” with as little suffering as possible.
“As you know, the most optimistic scenario we have is of an economic recession in 2020, of around 4% and a drop of around 500,000 tourists, a rise in unemployment to a figure of around 18% to 20%, more than doubling the rate we have in Cabo Verde, and an increase in the budget deficit to above 10%, but, mainly a drop in public revenue of around 18 billion escudos,” he noted.
And because that amount is almost half the budget in terms of revenues, he said the government would put forward a revised budget and set new priorities for public investment, in order to guarantee that in the next three months families have employment and income.
Meanwhile, Kelly Ferreira, of the legal office of the Union for Industry, Trade and Tourism of Cabo Verde, told Portuguese news agency Lusa that several hotels on Sal Island had already closed, and an official decision is expected from the Meliá group and Hotel Riu.
Even with a temporary suspension of activities, the lawyer said that hotels were guaranteeing jobs would be kept and salaries paid at 70%, as approved at Tuesday’s Social Consultation Council meeting.
Sal, with almost 40,000 inhabitants, is the island visited by the most tourists, and in 2019 accounted for 45.5% of total entries of around 820,000 tourists.
According to figures from the Cabo Verde National Institute of Statistics, Sal Island gad 31 hotel establishments in 2017, accounting for 11.3% of the total across the country.