By Mike Puia
DIRECTOR of Foreign Investment Division of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, Derek Aihari, revealed there are foreigners who cheated the country’s Foreign Investment Act by using locals to run their bus and taxi services.
Aihari said operating a bus and taxi service in the country is under the Act’s reserve list which means the business is meant for locals only.
But, he said it appears some foreigners have “come through in any way” to own and operate buses and taxis.
Aihari said the Act clearly stated that any application from a foreigner to run a bus or taxi service must be automatically rejected by the Registrar of company.
He said they know foreigners who own and run these public transport services are using locals to register their company.
Aihari said the Honiara City Council (HCC) is the body that issue a licence to operate in the city but can issue a licence without knowing the owner of the company.
He said they have been expecting formal report from members of the public of any bus or taxi service operated by any foreigner but until today since 2004, they haven’t got any report of such.
The foreign investment director said members of the public must report to them any issue of foreign ownership of public transport service so they are dealt with using their processes.