THE Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) has congratulated the people and Government of Solomon Islands on the occasion of the country’s 40th Independence Anniversary on July 7, 2018.
As the peak body representing the private sector in Solomon Islands, SICCI acknowledged the positive and tremendous changes that have occurred in the economy in the last 40 years.
SICCI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dennis Meone highlighted that the private sector has grown with huge investments occurring in the country, underpinned by a lot of foreign direct investment but also many Solomon Islanders venturing into business which is a very positive thing.
“We should celebrate the fact that a lot of Solomon Islanders are into entrepreneurship and commercial activities,” he said.
One of the key features of the private sector is, the sector has expanded and grown from a very small sector – “In fact the private sector is now is very different from that in the past,” Mr Meone said.
Although small compared to other regional countries and internationally, the private sector is still the mainstay of the economy because it is where jobs are created and it is where goods and services are being marketed.
SICCI is also conscious of the realties the country is faced with including the fast-growing population. Our economy has huge potential but in order to maximize these huge potentials we must ensure that our priorities are right.
Policy dialogue between government and private sector has to happen and has already happened. The Advisory Group has been functioning and is an excellent start but the work has just begun. “The biggest question is where we see ourselves in 20 to 40 years’ time,” says the CEO.
A lot hinges on the relationship and interaction that the private sector has with the government, to ensure that investments (big or small) do happen and the benefits are actually felt in the economy.
The CEO highlighted that SICCI’s relationship with Government is really important.
Meanwhile, SICCI Chair Jay Bartlett highlighted the very need for getting our vision and priorities right, reinforcing that as a country we need to be vigilant in realizing what changes we want to see and what changes we believe we need to develop into in the next forty years.
“As a country that is heavily dependent on aid, we are blessed with all the resources, we are blessed with population.
“We have a young population and that is a good opportunity that we have a young population that can work and create economic growth,” says the SICCI Chair.
Mr Bartlett said geographically Solomon Islands is located in a strategic position in the Pacific where it can become a hub for aviation, shipping and transportation.
“We have got the elements to become a successful country and with our human capital we need to uplift our education standards and this human capital can drive this growth.
“We need the leadership and the political will to be able to implement and carry out the reforms that will create this growth that we desperately need. I think we can do it, 100 percent,” Mr Bartlett boldly said.