The Solomon Islands Opposition Group has called on the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to clarify why no locals were granted beche-de-mer export licenses.
In a statement released last night, the Opposition Group said the ministry needed to explain why criteria disqualified local businessmen from being selected.
It questioned why and how these recipients were selected and who made the selection. The statement said the selection was “regrettable and a slap on the face of indigenous business people”.
According to officials within the Ministry of Commerce, most of the companies selected were classified as ‘watched companies’ because they failed to adhere to regulations.
Their failure to file annual returns over a certain period of time resulted in the companies’ automatic removal from the registry.
Company Haus and officials within the Ministry of Commerce have confirmed that company incorporations have shown that these companies do not have any history of active business in fisheries.
Most have no physical establishment and only registered mobile numbers as their company contact details.
It further alleged, a particular recipient, ‘Solomon FVC New Process Import and Export Limited’, was not registered under the Company Haus.
Therefore, the Opposition said the ministry must explain clearly whether all the recipients’ registration and incorporation background details were considered during the screening process.
The Opposition said the selection process has political interference written all over it.
The statement added, Cabinet and the fisheries ministry must take full responsibility and answer to citisens of the country.