Mixed outlook for Haitian economy

The Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) says the outlook for the local economy remains mixed and that the evolution of the economic situation for the next three months will be highly dependent on the socio-political climate.

The unrest in Haiti has severely affected the country’s economy.

“The negative shocks recorded in the country during the previous quarters still have an impact on the macroeconomic framework. Despite a relative recovery in activity towards the end of the first quarter, a wait-and-see attitude continues to prevail with regard to investment and production decisions; which affects the employment situation and the state’s ability to mobilise resources,” the BRH said in its first quarterly report for 2020.

Unsettled political climate

The Central Bank said that the economy has been severely affected by the slowdown in activities during the months of October and November last year, adding “at the same time, for 65 per cent of the companies surveyed, this situation led to the layoff of 10 to 25 per cent of their workforce.”

The BRH said that 35 per cent of the companies questioned indicate that they suffered material damage during the unsettled political climate.

Opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Jovenel Moise to step down amid allegations of corruption. But Moise, who came to office in 2017, has denied the allegations and has been holding talks with some opposition parties in a bid to form a government of national unity.

In addition, Haitians have been hit by a shortage of food and petroleum-based energy products.

The BRH said that as of December 31, last year, the taxes and levies collected by the state increased by 4.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter, amounting to just over HTG19.6 billion.

But it noted that at the same time, spending increased by 37.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter to reach a little over HTG42.7 billion.