PALAU BUSINESSES FEELING PINCH

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KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, June 4) — Palau’s businesses
are feeling the economic crisis brought about by 9/11, the war on Iraq and the
SARS scare.

To help ensure the survival of the private sector, the Palau
Chamber of Commerce, the Belau Tourism Association and the Palau Visitors
Authority said they will conduct a survey to find out how the businesses are
coping with the economic downturn.

The survey results will be used "in determining proper
recommendations and actions to take to help support businesses during these
difficult times," the Chamber said.

Survey questionnaires were sent to all business establishments
starting Friday, and they will be returned to the Chamber today.

The survey includes questions about business development plans,
cost-cutting measures, downsizing, and steps or policies the government should
adopt to support small businesses in Palau.

The survey also includes questions related to the impact of the
SARS outbreak on Palau businesses — the room occupancy rate compared to the
previous year, and the number of cancellations from March 1 to May 19, which was
when the government issued a ban on the entry of individuals from countries
affected by SARS

Vice President and Health Minister Sandra Pierantozzi said
results of the survey will also be referred to the SARS response team which she
chairs.

"We want to be in a better position to determine what kind
of help we could give to the private sector," Pierantozzi said.

She said the government is also reeling from the decrease in
collections.

Pierantozzi said her team is still waiting for the $150,000 they
need to implement anti-SARS measures.

The requested amount has to be approved by the national
legislature.

The Palau government has also requested funding from the United
States and Taiwan.

Pierantozzi said the government is still conducting inspections
at all points of entry and is "strictly screening" passengers arriving
in Palau, including passengers from Guam and the Philippines.

Palau has no reported cases, probable cases nor suspected cases
of SARS, she said.

June 4, 2003

Story via Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

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