BY ALEX DADAMU
42 business representatives from PNG which included Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), General Managers and important business executives from some of the biggest companies and organizations in PNG were part of the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape’s delegation which visited the country last week.
According to a statement from the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), this is the first or the biggest business delegation to have visited the Solomon Islands highlighting renewed efforts by leaders to strengthen business links between the two Melanesian countries.
As the peak body representing businesses and the private sector in the Solomon Islands, SICCI on Friday 28th February hosted a luncheon at the Mendana Kitano Hotel for Prime Minister Marape and his delegation.
According to the SICCI Statement, the purpose of the luncheon was for respective businesswomen and men from the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to meet with each other, explore opportunities for business partnerships in both countries.
The luncheon was also attended by Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare and Government ministers from the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) including Solomon Islands businesses who are members of SICCI.
SICCI Chairman, Mr. Jay Bartlett acknowledged Hon Sogavare for yet again demonstrating his Government’s and his personal support towards businesses and the Private Sector by seeing SICCI’s participation in this historic state visit.
“Today, we all operate under challenging conditions, however, SICCI is fortunate under our Prime Minister’s Leadership to have now established new levels of understanding, new levels of dialog and new levels of engagement between Government and business,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett also expressed SICCI’s appreciation to the private sector representatives in PNG and the PNG Government for taking the time and in keeping the Solomon Islands in their focus.
“Ultimately, there is no substitute for hard work in building the fundamentals. Unfortunately, no aid donor or no quick funding solution will substitute what we as responsible leaders must do to secure a safe and prosperous future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare recognizes that Solomon Islands’ private sector is much smaller than that of PNG and calls on businesswomen and men from the Solomon Islands to rise to the challenge of growing and expanding their businesses in partnership with our PNG sisters and brothers both here in the Solomon Islands and in PNG.
“I call on our private sector to take up the opportunity offered by Prime Minister Marape to establish Solomon Island businesses in Papua New Guinea – either through a partnership with your Papua New Guinea counterparts or establishing new businesses.” PM Sogavare Expressed.
Hon Sogavare in the meantime encourages PNG businesses to explore opportunities to invest and expand their investment portfolios to the Solomon Islands.