Govt settles $200000 of arrears to SIBC

Government representatives John Muria Jr (L) and Ethel Frances presenting the cheque to SIBC CEO Ashley Wickham and Finance Manager Jacob Panada (R)

The Solomon Islands Government yesterday handed over a cheque for more than $213,000 to reduce its outstanding bills with the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

The payment included $187,000 Government subvention for the third and fourth quarter of 2016.

It also covered a combined sum of $25,800 owed to SIBC by the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs.

Special Secretary to the Prime Minister John Muria Jr and Government Finance and Economics Consultant Ethel Frances presented the cheque to SIBC management.

Mr Muria said another payment of $150,000 is among his priorities to further reduce the Government’s outstanding bills with SIBC.

Earlier in the year when SIBC feared the Government’s cash-flow situation might deteriorate to the point that it could not pay its bills and contracted commitments, a contingency plan was developed.

On December 15, 2017, the Board of Directors approved the implementation of the first phase of the plan, which resulted in the broadcaster switching off its medium wave transmitter that serves mainly the central Solomons.

SIBC Finance Manager Jacob Panada said after yesterday’s partial payment, Government arrears to SIBC were reduced from approximately $1 million to more than $680,000.

SIBC Chief Executive Officer Ashley Wickham said he is grateful that the Government remains committed to meeting its financial obligations to the national broadcaster.

He said SIBC looks forward to the Government’s finances improving early this year so that SIBC can continue to deliver on the Government’s community service obligations.

By Lowen Sei

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