GOV’T MAY SET UP COMMITTEE TO LOOK INTO EFFECTS OF SIPA REFORMS

Official Court of Arms. Photo credit: Solomon Islands Government.

Official Court of Arms. Photo credit: Solomon Islands Government.

The National Government may move to set up a Committee tasked to gauge wider consultation on the effects of Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) reforms before presenting its report to Cabinet.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made the proposal after representatives from the business and industries sector made a presentation to the Government Caucus the economic impacts of the SIPA reforms.

The presentation was conducted by the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) with representatives from National Fisheries Development (NFD), Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SICCI) and the Solomon Islands Chinese Association.

A major point raised during the presentation was the significant increase in tariff imposed by SIPA with no indication of improved services when it comes to the efficient handling of both imports and exports.

A comparison was drawn on the history of SIPA’s cargo handling before the reforms were carried out and the present state of its services.

Meanwhile, Mathew Quan of the Chinese Association told Caucus during the presentation that efficiency of services offered by SIPA has not changed since the reforms were effected last year that may warrant the steep increase in Ports tariffs.

He says most businesses are more worried about how the Ports Authority should be operated efficiently which should enable businesses to trade profitably.

But SIPA venturing into other businesses may likely prolong such poor service delivery at the Honiara and Noro ports.

SICCI which represents over 180 members and more than 30,000 employers in the non-formal sector are also generally sceptic about SIPA’s ability to focus on improving its services than venturing into other businesses such as selling of Vietnamese rice and operating a seaplane business.

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