Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the SICCI team who paid him the visit. Photo credit: OPMC.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the SICCI team who paid him the visit. Photo credit: OPMC.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) of his government’s commitment to work in alliance with its stakeholders create a more enabling environment for investment in Solomon Islands.

The Prime Minister made the assurance when the SICCI Board made a courtesy call on him yesterday.

Chamber Chair, Tony Koraua congratulated Prime Minister Sogavare for his election saying SICCI was encouraged to hear from the Prime Minister, the private sector remains an important government partner in ensuring economic growth and his DCC regime’s intention for a more interactive engagement with government stakeholders.

He said SICCI is the peak representative organisation for the private sector and current membership stands at 184.

SICCI has a board comprising extraordinary executives from highly successful entities.

Its affiliates include the European Union, Australian High Commission, New Zealand High Commission, Chinese Association, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, University of the South Pacific, Solomon Islands National University, Forum Fisheries Agency and the Solomon Islands Women’s Group and Small and Medium Enterprises, SME, organisations and in Business.

Meanwhile, Mr Koraua said one of the major challenges facing the private sector attracting foreign investors is the high cost of doing business in Solomon Islands.

Mr Koraua suggested a tax review to broaden the base and look at ways to reduce the cost of utilities.

He also suggested initiating a quarterly government dialogue with SICCI so that both parties can update each other on the progress of implementing whatever decisions they have agreed on.

Mr. Koraua also raised the issue of land reform and the importance of this reform to development.

The General Manager of GPPOL emphasised the need for co-operation between the government and investors when dealing with land issues as the problem of administrative delays in land acquisition processing is not encouraging for investment.

Sir Bruce Saunders from the United Risk Services Ltd also highlighted the undersea Fibre Optic Cable Project for the improvement of Internet services in the country and alluded to it as a solution to the high business operational cost for Solomon Islands.

ANZ CEO Mr Buchanan said, negotiations on the financing of the Undersea Cable Project are progressing well and informed the Prime Minister that ANZ Bank is pleased to contribute to the financing of such infrastructure.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the SICCI Board and reiterated the need for serious input from stakeholders to advancing his DCC government’s development policy intentions.

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