SICCI Reiterates Call for Dialogue With Government

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THE Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), as the peak body representing private sector in the country, expresses concerns over the short notice for the additional public holiday during the 2019/2020 Christmas and New Year period.

The Chamber raised this on behalf of its 200+ member companies after the Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs, without adequate notice, declared Friday 27th December 2019 a public holiday.

SICCI Chief Executive Officer, Ms Atenasi Ata in noting members’ dissatisfaction encouraged advance notice utilising existing channels such as the media, and email or phone contacts.

“We see this matter and members’ feedback on it as important for discussions around business confidence.

“From the feedback we received related to the additional public holiday of 27th December, two main concerns were with financial implications and human resourcing impacts as companies had a very short time to action changes including the redoing of payroll. For others, shift and essential workers now were owed at higher rates,” she said.

Some companies had to turn away workers on the day as well as irate customers.

“Holidays are important times of course, for rejuvenating; for religious events; and when marking nationally significant days. However, there are already nine designated public holidays in the Solomon Islands calendar year apart from the annual Second Appointed days, which are also public holidays for each of the nine provinces. That makes around eighteen public holidays in a year.

“Companies value the Schedule of National and Provincial Public Holidays list circulated by the Ministry of Home Affairs at the start of every year, and plan according to it.

“So, we urge the Ministry responsible, to help foster business confidence by adhering to it and in the instance where a well-reasoned holiday is to be gazetted, an advance notice period of at least one month is given,” Ms Ata added.

Meanwhile, SICCI congratulates all its members for their hard work in 2019 and thanked them for their vital contributions to the country’s economy.

SICCI also wishes all companies both members and non-members, strong positive growth for 2020.

“The Chamber has enjoyed a robust relationship with Government enabled by the MOU signed in 2017 with key departments of Finance, of Commerce and of National Planning along with the Prime Minister’s Office. For this year, we remain committed to the spirit of public-private sector partnership and will continue to advocate on behalf of our members, to realise a conducive business environment in the country,” SICCI CEO, Ms Ata, reaffirms.