THE Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) maintained that the private sector plays a critical role for economic growth and jobs creations in the country, as such, the Chamber is eager to continue on the strong partnership it has established with the Solomon Islands Government.
SICCI, on behalf of its members, the business community and the Solomon Islands private sector, acknowledges the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) led by newly elected Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare and pledges its support to the new Government.
“The Chamber welcomes Hon. Manasseh Sogavare as our new Prime Minister and congratulates his new cabinet of ministers following their official appointments to the respective portfolios.
“We are confident that the DCGA administration will strive to the best of their ability to enhance the lives of Solomon Islanders, considering all the time, the sum of its efforts across both public and private sector,” SICCI Chairman, Jay Bartlett, said.
“We look forward to continuing discussions on policy directions that enable businesses to grow, and we look forward to keeping the Government well informed. Clear direction and appropriate action I believe will reap demographic and economic dividends in the coming years,” the SICCI Chair added.
SICCI Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Atenasi Ata says the Chamber and its team within the Secretariat looks forward to engaging on key impediments to growth, progressing the formalised Public Private Partnership (PPP) through the MOU signed with the Government in 2017.
“Government remains our key stakeholder. We will maintain the current good level of collaboration with the executive, now led by Prime Minister Sogavare.
“We are pleased as it was in his time as Prime Minister in 2017, that the MOU was signed,” Ms. Ata said.
She said the MOU provides a platform that complements SICCI’s efforts towards solutions to Infrastructure needs, reviewing a complex tax system, inefficiencies caused by bureaucratic corruption, and unlocking economic potential of land.
“A conducive business environment where the private sector can flourish means more contribution to Government revenue, more jobs for our growing population. That is the SICCI vision, one I am 100% confident that Government also shares in,” Ms. Ata stated.
SICCI also congratulated all fifty members of the 11th Parliament.
“Your elected office is important due to the constituent interests you bear on national issues. As elected legislators too and scrutineers of public funds, your roles intersect with the Chamber’ vision of sustained and equitable development for the country.
“We want to assure you that we share the same long-term vision of a prosperous Solomon Islands. The Chamber has represented employers and business owners for more than 30 years in the Solomon Islands and we remain committed to this role,” Ms. Ata said.
SICCI’s current membership of 240 companies collectively represents more than 30,000 employees.
Of these companies, 60% are small- to medium-sized businesses. SICCI’s members come from diverse sectors in the economy including the manufacturing, construction, fisheries, professional services, retailing and agriculture industries. SICCI also has a seat on twenty-one (21) Boards, Committees, and Forums in the country.
Businesses call for political stability
SICCI also notes the developments taking place in the current political scenario.
“We would like to think that political parties and members are exercising maturity that would also help protect Solomon Islands’ reputation in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“We are unfortunately not favoured due to our relative isolation from markets that we need to trade with. We are also not an advanced country in terms of our systems and laws that impact health, education and social indicators. Really, we are one of the newer countries in the development sense,” SICCI Chair, Mr Bartlett, said.
Mr. Bartlett said the Chamber’s stance on issues of national interest and issues affecting business is therefore always one cognizant of these realities, and especially one that is always looking long term, into the future.
“And we believe that business cannot thrive without economic and political stability.
“We do not condone the violence that results from the current vigorous civic engagement in our democratic system. In some way, this can be regarded as necessary as we progress along the continuum of realising our full potential as a country of diverse ethnicities and inherent cultures,” he said.
“However, we believe that to achieve this vision of a prosperous Solomon Islands, all leaders should exercise their roles with a mind to how political rhetoric impact on popular sentiment which can adversely affect efforts to project Solomon Islands as a favorable place to do business,” the SICCI Chair added.