The People’s Alliance Party (PAP) has unveiled seven broad key areas it will address to achieve its goal of ensuring a secure, united and prosperous Solomon Islands should it form the next government after the upcoming national general elections in April.
The seven broad key areas are as follows:
- Political and constitutional reforms;
- National social cohesion and unity;
- Economic change and empowerment;
- Sustainable use, conservation management and exploitation of natural resources;
- Critical infrastructure and communication technology;
- National Security and Law and Order; and
- Foreign Policy Engagements.
Speaking at the launch of the PAP’s policy platform launch in Honiara on Thursday 31st February 2019, the outgoing Opposition Leader and PAP Campaign Committee Chair, Mr Manasseh Maelanga said the party will address these broad key areas with ‘great sincerity and optimism if it given the opportunity to lead the government in April this year.
Mr Maelanga said the seven broad key areas will be addressed with the sole objective of ensuring a ‘secure, united and prosperous” Solomon Islands.
Elaborating on the first key area, Mr Maelanga said as the ‘people’s’ party, PAP listened to the pleas of ordinary Solomon Islanders and has sympathised with them.
“On assuming government, one of the immediate tasks PAP will push for is a review of the recently passed Electoral Act to ensure it is relevant to the country, reflecting the current realities.
“We will also review the Parliamentary Entitlements’ Commission regulations to ensure we have an arrangement acceptable to the country.”
Mr Maelanga added that, “PAP is committed to ensuring the Rural Constituency Fund (RCDF) is used for the intended purpose.
“We will push for the implementation of the RCDF regulations, taking into account the views of all stakeholders in the country to ensure greater accountability and transparency in the use of the funds. We will explore how the funds could be used more effectively and efficiently to support rural development.”
Elaborating on the second key area, Mr Maelanga said PAP believes in one united Solomon Islands with different background and cultures and therefore will put more resources into programmes and activities that will enhance national unity, peace and prosperity.
He said PAP will also relook at how best it can strategise and implement some of the outstanding national projects in the country, including the Bina Habour Project on Malaita to ensure it gets off the ground.
“As a party we are committed to developing these projects to ensuring lasting peace, prosperity and social cohesion in the country,” he added.
Mr Maelanga also referred to the proposed Federal Government system and the 2023 Pacific Games to be hosted by Solomon Islands as crucial issues hinging on social cohesion and unity that PAP will address.
“Whatever system of government we finally arrive at must bring in unity and stability in the country.
“The hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games is an important national undertaking that a PAP-led government will enhance and support to ensure the games are successfully held in Solomon Islands.”
Elaborating on the third key area, Mr Maelanga said PAP will take a comprehensive review of the country’s current tax and incentive policy system to ensure it has a simple and affordable tax system with everybody playing their part to the tax system.
He said the PAP will also support indigenous businesses through the establishment of financial institutions such as the Development Bank of Solomon Islands.
Mr Maelanga said the PAP is also mindful of the many challenges faced by Solomon Islanders regarding employment and will seek to create incentives and opportunities for the many job-seekers in the country, including graduates.
He said PAP will also review the country’s existing foreign investment policy which allowed so many foreigners to operate businesses and acquire land.
Elaborating on the fourth key area, Mr Maelanga said Solomon Islands is blessed with abundant natural resources but they have been plunged with very little return to the landowners and PAP is determined to review policies and legislations that safeguard these resources.
Expounding on the fifth key area, Mr Maelanga said PAP views infrastructure and communication technology as vital for development and progress for the country.
He said the state of the country’s roads, bridges and wharves are appalling and the cost of shipping services, water and electricity very high and they need a critical relook at to determine the best way forward in addressing them.
“PAP on assuming government will push for a comprehensive review, overhaul and audit of our infrastructures and utilities,” adding that, “This will include the possibility of restoring the Public Works Department to cater for road maintenance.”
“We will also review all our State-owned Enterprises, their board memberships to deliver according to the mandates and serve the people of Solomon Islands well,” he further added.
Expounding on the sixth key area, Mr Maelanga said the responsibility of any government is the protection, safety and well-being of its citizens and PAP will ensure the country is secured and protected from internal and external threats.
“A PAP-led government is serious about protecting our borders. On assuming government, we will work towards implementing the national security strategy backed up with legislations to deal with internal and external security challenges.
“Furthermore, PAP in addressing our national security challenges will also review the mandate of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and at the same time will explore the opportunity of establishing a paramilitary force for external security defense.”
Expounding on the seventh key area, Mr Maelanga said PAP will pursue a strategic foreign policy engagement to ensure the country derives maximum ‘benefits and results’ from its engagements.
“A PAP Government will initiate a comprehensive review of our diplomatic ties, trade and consular relations and the costs involved to ensure we derive maximum benefits and results.”
He added that, “At the same time we will also put a moratorium on the establishment on new diplomatic missions abroad while the review is in place to ensure we are more strategic and focused in our foreign policy engagement.”
Mr Maelanga also thanked the country’s existing diplomatic allies for their support to Solomon Islands, adding that a PAP-led government looks forward to further engagements with their governments.