THE Minister of Commerce, Trade, Labour and Immigration, Fredrick Kologeto has congratulated Solomon Islands Tobacco Company for their economic contributions to the local economy when marking the launch of the EY independent report.
Minister Kologeto made the commendation during a government visit to the SITCo factory recently.
He praised SITCO for the great work on building its talent base, building a good working culture as well as the ESG (Environment, Society, Governance) initiatives.
“It reassures our Government its views that businesses need to support investments locally in the Solomon Islands and in doing so, it is very important to encourage more role models”, Hon Fredrick said.
“Multinationals like SITCo bring world-class best practices to our country. This helps develop local standards and local talent as well
He said the people whom SITCo developed over the years go on to work for other companies in Solomons or even with Government and their experiences help us uplift the wider communities.
SITCo has invested more than $25m in capital projects in their factory over the last five years. This is on top of more than one billion dollars of taxes paid to the Solomon Islands Government. Some of these investments it hopes will help Government widen the tax net by offering taxed alternatives to cottage tobacco consumers.
Minister of Finance, Harry Kuma in acknowledging the health risks further added, “We know tobacco products can have health implications and it our responsibility toensure smokers understand the risk. As such we the Government have implemented laws to ensure all packaging has health warnings on it amongst other strict requirements whilst understanding that smoking remains a legal choice for adults.
He said Solomon Islands has not been immune to the economic hardships being faced around the world because of COVID crisis.
“Our 2021 Development Budget targets sectors that aims to drive economic activity, address food security, support the provision of basic essential services, and support job retention and employment,” said Harry Kuma in his opening remarks.
“The economic returns from these targeted sectors will continue to finance activities in other equally important sectors such as the social sector going into the long term. As such, we fully recognize and appreciate the role Private Sector will need to play in our road to recovery and prosperity”.