Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Photo credit: SICR

Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Photo credit: SICR

The Office of the Prime Minister has refuted media reports that seeks to portray the government moves to privatise the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA).

A Government statement today says the decision to temporarily move SIPA’s portfolio from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development to the Prime Minister’s Office is to enable the newly-established Commission of Enquiry (COI) into the SIPA Reform program, to commence its investigations into the affairs of the state-owned enterprise.

The statement describes the media reports as misleading and only attempts to overstate a temporary but significant bureaucratic arrangement that aims to ensure the investigations by the Commission are undertaken under a fairly independent environment.

The Commission of Inquiry has commenced its mandated task as of today, investigating the consequences of the SIPA Reform program under former Chief Executive Officer, Collin Yow.

Meanwhile, the statement says the Commission is mandated with 55 working days to complete its investigation and submit its findings into the consequences and impacts of the SIPA reform program.

It says the appointment of Commission members have been finalised and were officially engaged as of today.

The statement says claims of moving to privatise SIPA’s operation in the future is mere speculation as anything to do with SIPA’s future will come from the findings of the current inquiry.

It says the documentation for SIPA to come under the Prime Minister’s Office is still not finalised and to imply that SIPA in now legally under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s office is erroneous.

Members of the Commission of Inquiry are drawn from various sectors to show the Government’s intention to ensure SIPA continues to benefit Solomon Islanders and support a vibrant economy now and into the future.

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