PM welcomes SICCI’s partnership plan

Prime Minister (PM) Manasseh Sogavare has welcomed the new interest proposed by the current Board of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) to form a formal partnership with the government.

The new partnership will be in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will be formalised soon.

“…I can see a new interest, provoked by the current SICCI Board to form a new partnership with the government in the form of a MoU thus I welcome this and wish to thank the SICCI Board for their vision,” PM Sogavare said.

He said, let us start somewhere and gradually work towards expanding the relationship to broader areas.

“…I think there are many areas that we can achieve intellectual capital from that will be beneficial to both with a formal partnership.

“So I would encourage a redrawing of the MoU to include other areas,” he added.

Mr Sogavare informed the Chamber that he has agreed to the establishment of the partnership and proposed advisory council.

“I have also agreed to chair the proposed Council.

“…let us start with a broad agenda than just PPP (Public-Private Partnership) because there is a lot to be discussed in order to find mutually beneficial solutions,” he added.

On the government’s approach to the public-private partnership (PPP), Prime Minister Sogavare said we are now transiting to the next phase which is implementation.

“I understand the SICCI was consulted about the PPP study and your submission for a standalone PPP approach rather than be merged as a tool for developing Special Economic Zones, has been adopted by the Cabinet.

“This shows that we are a government keen on listening, especially to sound and intelligent views, as we have done in the case of your submission to the PPP study.

“I envisioned that once PPP is rolled out hopefully in mind 2017 (or preferably earlier) there will be many opportunities for further partnerships with the private sector. As these partnerships will mainly work for large projects that could cost millions of dollars, the potential for making a significant impact in the economy and on job creation could be significant.

“So hopefully we can work together to strengthen our partnership,” he stressed.

PM Sogavare said, he is keen to commence the partnership as soon as possible.

On the broader investment policy framework of government, PM Sogavare said one of the pillars that they had looked at for fast tracking investment in the country (SI) is the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) mechanism adding there are a few ground works to be addressed before these becomes realities.

PM Sogavare hopes the establishment of the new body will help the government to have a view from the private sector as to how they can best move forward on this adding he is keen on discussing ways they can improve the investment climate here in the country to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to invest in export production.

“We need more of this to improve our productive base so that we can create more jobs for Solomon Islanders,” he said.

By STEPHEN DIISANGO

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