Dr Aqorau calls for establishment of Economic Advisory Council
A Solomon Islands Academic and Lawyer Dr. Transform Aqorau is calling for the establishment of an Economic Advisory Council to provide sound and grounded analytical and policy input into the budget development process.
Speaking exclusively to SIBC News today Dr Aqorau says the Economic Advisory Council should consist of representatives from the Business Community, SOEs, the Youth Entrepreneurial Council of Solomon Islands, (YECSI), Women in Business (SIWB), Donors (Asian Development Bank & World Bank), and the Minister for Finance and Development Planning.
“If there was a time when the country needs its best and most experienced people of what the situation is on the ground to inform the development of the budget; it is now,” Dr. Aqorau says.
He adds: “We need to have a more inclusive approach to the development of policies, but more importantly is to get those on who will be shouldering the responsibility to have a say in the design of the content of the policies.”
Afterall, he says the burden of growing the economy falls on their shoulders and if the country wants to encourage policies that will help grow the economy, then we should involve them.
“It is clear to us who have been closely monitoring the performance of government from an analytical perspective, that there is a shortage of serious intellectual capacity in the Prime Minister’s Office which seems to be driving the process to develop policies that will provide the impetus to bolster a crisis economy,” Dr. Aqorau says.
He said these are not ordinary times; these are extraordinary difficult and challenging times, and managing an economy against the backdrop where there is community transmission, that is causing disruptions to the supply chain of goods and services, needs the support of those who are at the front end of dealing with the supply constraints.
Dr. Aqorau said Caucus is the wrong forum to advise Cabinet at this time of crisis, because it has always been motivated largely by the self-interest of its members, the Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF), and the extractive industry, but more importantly because of the known limits to the capacity of its members.
“To leave it to those who designed the economic stimulus package and Caucus who we know are only motivated about what they get from the Budget, would be a tragedy and a lost opportunity.”
Dr Aqorau adds, the idea of an Economic Advisory Council should not be seen as a threat but an opportunity to develop a Budget based on what is actually happening by those on the ground, namely the business houses.
“We need an inclusive approach now more than ever, and therefore I am calling on the country, the Provincial Governments, and the people to support this initiative,” Dr Aqorau says.