Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) reports businesses in all main economic sectors of Maldives, except for the construction sector, recorded an expansion in activity in the fourth quarter of last year.
According to the quarterly business survey report for Q4 2021 released by MMA on Thursday, the financial situation of tourism, transport and communication, and wholesale and retail sectors improved during the period.
However, the financial situation index remained below zero for the construction sector.
Employment levels increased moderately in Q42021 for businesses in the tourism sector, transport and communication sector, while businesses in the construction sector, and the wholesale and retail trade sector registered declines.
Construction sector activity declined from 14 points to –6 in Q4 2021, while employment levels continued its declining trend and fell 14 points to –47.
Some of the factors attributed to the decline in construction activity from 14 points to –6 in Q4 2021 include delays in payments by clients, challenges in access to foreign exchange, high cost of raw materials, and shortage of skilled labor.
The figures also show a shortage of local labor, compared to Q3 2021.
Tourism sector activity expanded significantly during Q4 2021, which total revenue increasing by 76 points and resort bookings increasing by 58 points.
1.3 million tourists visited Maldives in 2021.
Meanwhile, the number of employees index rose 55 points to 86 in Q4 2021, while wages and other labor costs per employee index increased 14 points to 56.
TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION
Transport and communication sector activity continued to expand at a faster pace in Q4 2021, with both the total revenue index and the volume of demand index rising 14 points to 90.
While businesses reported an increase in employment levels in Q4 2021, the employment index fell 20 points to 42, indicating a moderation in the pace of hiring.
Businesses in the sector also reported difficulty in access to foreign exchange as a factor limiting business expansion.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE
Wholesale and retail trade sector also continued to expand at a faster pace in Q4 2021. The sales index gained 18 points to 82, while the index for volume of orders placed with suppliers increased 17 points to 82.
However, employment levels declined in Q4 2021 after increasing in the previous four quarters, with the number of employees index falling 71 points to -19 during the quarter.
Conversely, wages and other labor costs per employee index turned positive, increasing 85 points to 50.
Access to foreign exchange, shortage of local labor and regulatory framework were identified as some of the factors limiting business expansion in the sector.
According to MMA, the business survey for Q4 2021 was carried out from December 23, 2021 to January 13, 2022. Survey forms were sent electronically to 180 large enterprises (based on revenue) in the tourism, construction, wholesale and retail trade, and transport and communication sectors. A total of 123 enterprises responded during the survey period which represents an overall response rate of 68 percent.