The Parliamentary Opposition Office has condemned the failure of Solomon Islands Ports Authority to consult local ship owners before imposing increases to charges on the usage of domestic ports services.
The group today says its office is able to obtain information that charges relating to berthing has increased from 40 cents to $1.00 per meter per hour, newly introduced SIPA registration fees will see boats within the ranges of 25 meters – 50 meters (plus) will pay fees ranging correspondingly to their respective length from 15 to 30,000.
The Office is further aware that another new fee is imposed whereby 40 meters and above vessels will have to be piloted to the ports. The pilot fee is $1,000 per usage.
The Office states while it acknowledges that SIPA has the prerogative to make the changes in fees, the office is of the view that SIPA should allow ship owners the right to be heard as well during the process of imposing increases in the various existing charges or imposition of new charges.
According to the law of nature, anybody has the right to a fair hearing and in this case, shipowners have the right to be heard before any change in rates is imposed on them.
The Parliamentary Opposition Office urges the SIPA executive and board to allow consultations to occur so that other stakeholders can vent their views and in that way, reforms can be holistically owned and supported.