PM: Western Province contributes 20 percent of National Growth.
Western Province has been acknowledged for its contribution to the country’s national growth.
“Western Province contributes 20 percent of national growth,” Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare announced in his key note address at today’s Western Province’s Second Appointed Day Celebrations at the Provincial Capital, Gizo.
Western Province plays an increasing vital role in the economy of Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Sogavare stated.
“It is estimated to have contributed around 16-20 percent of national growth, primarily from logging, tourism and industry sector.”
Log export duty alone recorded around $200 million per year, which is around 52 percent of total national export duties in 2020.
The Prime Minister adds; Western province’s tourism sector is dubbed “the tourism mecca of Solomon Islands” is one of the key sectors contributing to the growth of the economy of the county.
The Western province tourism sector is responsible for contributing direct, indirect and induced employment to many Solomon Islanders.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and border restrictions has dealt a huge blow in visitor arrivals to the Western province from 1183 in 2019 to around only 200 in 2020.
Sol Tuna Company and NFD Ltd is the only tuna processing company in the country and employed around 3000 plus workers combined (64% of whom are women) and the tuna industry accounts for 5% of Solomon Islands’ GDP.
Further, the Prime Minister said, Western province is also home to more than 200 active small and medium –size enterprises (SMEs), employing more than 4 Thousand people. This in itself says a lot about the entrepreneurship of our people in Western Province and their appetite to engage in economic activities.
In terms of trade, Western Province contribute 34 percent of Solomon Islands’ export particularly on logs and tuna, a disproportionately large amount compared to its share of national total export.
The extractive and tourism sector are considered as industries with potential to create small business and therefore jobs. The recent opening of Munda Airport to international flights is a catalyst to attract more international visitors to the country, more jobs for the tourism sectors.
Speaking on this year’s theme: “Empowering People Through Self-Autonomy,” the Prime Minister announced a Cabinet Paper will be brought to Cabinet before the end of this year or early next year to set things in motion for the state government system.
The Draft Federal Constitution was formally handed over to the Prime Minister in July 2019.
At that time, only 8 of the 9 provinces supported the State Government. The Malaita Provincial Government did not.
The Malaita Provincial Government has since reneged and are now calling for more autonomy. Therefore, the government will move ahead with the transition into state government.
The Prime Minister is optimistic that the new state government system will strengthen our solidarity and unity, and stronger states will translate into a stronger country.
Prime Minister Sogavare also pay tribute to past leaders of Western Province at both the provincial and national level.
Prime Minister Sogavare thanked the former Premier and his executive for his services to our people and Western Province. On the same note, he congratulates the new Premier and his executive who recently elected on your election.
Prime Minister Sogavare also spoke on the recent events in Honiara describing it as a test of his resolve, patience and character.
“The recent events in Honiara will surely go down in our history books. But it will go down in our history books for the right reasons, and that is we defended the principles of democracy and the rule of law against the intimidation, violence and tyranny that was used to try and tear down a democratically elected government,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare also visited Gizo Hospital this afternoon. After visiting the sick, he handed a cash donation to the hospital authority.