By Gary Hatigeva
GOVERNMENT’S proposals to re-establish the former Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI) through a DBSI Bill 2018, was amongst four government bills that went through their second reading on the floor of parliament yesterday.
The DBSI Bill was put in for its first reading early this month before parliament was adjourned, where it was later brought before the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC), for it inquiry.
After its successful scrutiny at the BLC, the Bill was brought back to the floor of parliament where it was put up for its second reading, following its resumption, and got the nod from members, for its debate and proceedings from the Committee of the Whole House.
There is excitement within the government side, with anticipation for its passage, and looks forward to its enactment.
The DBSI Bill 2018 according to the government is the way forward, which aims to give opportunity to the rural masses to contribute directly into the national economy.
It was also reintroduced with hopes to expand access to finance to support rural economies, and support economic advancement throughout the country, ensuring at least 80 percent of the rural population receives the opportunity to participate in various economic activities, at the same time enhance their participation in the rural productive sector.
The re-establishment also comes with a new approach, and that is to prevent Solomon Islanders to become excluded in economic development, while at the same time, look at the existing financial sector in this country, which is dominated by commercial banks.
The government believes that the commercial players were contended with short-term banking activities and were either not willing or not in a position to support national priorities of long-term investment outside of urban centres.
It is also within the government’s proposal that the Development Bank will become a vehicle to promote, stimulate and strengthen economic development in the Solomon Islands.
The government is also looking at expanding productive activities in the rural areas and increase participation of the indigenous population in commercial activities, under the DBSI Bill if it is passed by parliament.
The new DBSI Bill is expected to address what have been outlined as some of the underlying issues, which includes the development of a legal regime for DBSI that is in conformity with good governance and international best banking practices, and to provide transparency and accountability.
It is factored to be pushing for the enhancement of Good Governance, one of the new improvements, with hopes for it to provide an effective governance platform for the prudent running of the new Development Bank.
Objectively, the new Bill is also looking to support financial deepening and serves a place in the market that cannot be reached by other players in the commercial and financial market, and that according to experts, can be achieved through the development of a proper financial system.
The other bills that made their second reading are, the Payment System Bill 2018, the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (Amendment) Bill 2018, and the ‘2017 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2018.
Following its resumption, Parliament went through the presentations of reports from both the Speaker, and the BLC Chair, but was unable to go through its Question and Answer session due to the non attendance of responsible members for both questions and answers, and was later adjourned for this morning, after going through the second readings of the four bills.