| 1 July 2020

COVID-19 and Business Law Reform

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Reductions in tourism spending, impacted supply chains and trade flows, delayed construction and infrastructure development, rising unemployment, and a significant decline in consumer activity all challenge businesses’ operations and viability. The resilience of the private sector will be a critical factor in the region’s economic recovery.

PSDI is working to ensure that Pacific business activity can restart as quickly, effectively, and efficiently as possible.

This includes work on a number of COVID-19-specific amendments to legislation—tailored to the circumstances of each country—across the Pacific, such as:

  • the implementation of safe harbor rules for directors that continue trading through this period but are technically insolvent;
  • potential hibernation rules for creditors that may demand payment;
  • a review of insolvency frameworks to ensure they are better equipped and have options available for dealing with economic shocks, such as that caused by COVID-19;
  • relaxation of rules for compliance such as filing of annual returns; and
  • changes to meeting rules and requirements.

In addition, PSDI is providing policy advice to governments regarding COVID-19 response options and the long-term impacts to business and exploring opportunities to enhance existing technology platforms—such as online registries—to improve access and data collection. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of these platforms, which increase the digital connection between government departments and reduce the travel, queueing, and face-to-face contact otherwise needed for businesses to interact with government.

The continuation of PSDI’s long-running business law reform work will also be a crucial contributor to economic recovery. Reducing the barriers to business formation and formalization in the Pacific will increase tax revenues and provide the public finances necessary to speed recovery, as well as creating a more enabling environment to build a robust and resilient private sector that is protected against future shocks.

For more information on PSDI's COVID-19 activities, click here.