EDB Newsletter December 2020 - Retrospect 2020
22 Dec 2020
We have reached the end of a particularly tumultuous year, one that will forever remain entrenched in history books. Covid-19 has almost irrevocably dispelled all commitments, resolutions and expectations made at the start of the year, forcing every Government, business, and individual to not only review their plans for 2020, but also to have a much deeper introspection of the humdrum of daily routines.
Indeed, at the start of the year, few would have predicted closed shops and factories or empty streets, beaches and restaurants of this magnitude for such a prolonged time period. It has been a trying environment for humanity in the pursuit of professional and personal ambitions, with the damage done likely to last for years and even decades.
People from all walks of life have been affected, reminding us of the stark reality that misfortune and tragedy transcend all barriers and do not discriminate. For instance, for the first time in 70 years, UNICEF will have to feed hungry children in the UK. The World Bank estimates that 88 million people have already been pushed into poverty- a figure that could rise to 115 million, reversing decades of progress made in the fight against poverty.
This situation follows the drastic fall in the level of business activity around the globe, affecting investment and trade alike, and unfortunately, trickle-down economics works better in reverse.
Our nation has equally not been spared. However, our nation has always been able to adapt itself in the face of adversity; a quality that has been ingrained in our cultural DNA.
The difficult sanitary measures imposed have undoubtedly caused, for a short time-period, significant reduction in economic activity. However, the lockdown was a necessary sacrifice to prevent a complete economic collapse and today, except for tourism and related activities, businesses are almost back to normal.
The conjecture has also prompted a rethink in our way of doing things. E-commerce is on the rise while work-from-home has become a normality. The Economic Development Board (EDB) too has had to adapt its functions and activities to meet the demands of its stakeholders.
In this special edition of the newsletter, we are providing some highlights of our main activities during the year - how the EDB has worked closely with stakeholders and contributed to policy during the crisis. Furthermore, we are showcasing some of our major achievements during the year in terms of project facilitation and progress made in improving the business environment. We have also worked extensively towards the development in new segments in nutraceuticals, medical devices, fintech and biotechnology amongst others.
Our estimates show that FDI inflows for 2020 will amount to some Rs 12 billion, lower than the Rs 20 billion we had forecasted during the year, mainly because of delays of implementation and investors reviewing certain of their business decisions to meet short-term requirements as a result of Covid 19. However, we remain confident that in 2021, we will bounce back stronger and that projects delayed will be realised, complementing new projects that we will facilitate.
For this to happen, we will need the collaboration of all our stakeholders, and I would like to assure you that the EDB team remains committed to help you bring your business and the economy to new heights.
I would like to end by thanking the Board, the Ag. CEO and all the staff of the EDB for their support throughout the year. To them, and all of our public and private stakeholders, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021.
I hope that you and your families remain safe during these difficult times and that you are successful in all your endeavours.
Hemraj Ramnial, CSK
Chairman, Economic Development Board