THE Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) believes the country can maximise the benefits of infrastructure spending if there are policies and regulations in place to promote local content.
SICCI Board Chairman, Ricky Fuo’o said focusing on maximizing local content ensures that local workers have a job that will lead to skills development and transfer
Not only that but local suppliers will also have an opportunity to grow in the market, and local companies will develop and contribute to revenue that remains in the country and promotes the standards of local private sector, he said.
Fuo’o was speaking the Prime Minister’s Breakfast on Friday 21st May hosted by SICCI for its members to have an opportunity to directly engage with the country’s leadership.
“It is vital that Government takes an active approach to ensuring the greatest benefits from infrastructure development are retained locally. Procurement processes should prioritize local business and MSMEs.
“Some countries prioritize local business in their tenders under a certain monetary threshold. Likewise local partnering and minimum local employee requirements can be a requirement for contracts given to foreign businesses,” he said.
SICCI believes that creating such regulations and policies to promote local content will maximise local participation, otherwise local businesses will remain spectators in all these infrastructure developments.
SICCI further acknowledges the actions taken by the Government to stimulate economic activity and improve productivity through infrastructure spending and to development partners who have contributed towards these infrastructure developments.
Some of these multi-billion dollars infrastructure activities have already been committed to and are currently being constructed.
These includes the 2023 South Pacific Games projects, Tina River Hydro Development Project, Upgrade – Munda International Airport Project, Tar Seal of Seghe and Taro domestic airport, Henderson International Airport Upgrade, Fisheries-Henderson road, White River Highway-road and the USP Campus project.
“Infrastructure is often considered to provide a ‘double befit’ to the economy.
“Initially short-term as an economic stimulus and then in the long term, from benefits the new infrastructure provides.
“Social and economical infrastructure is essential to sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation,” SICCI Chair,” Fuo’o, said.
Meanwhile, SICCI will also continue to advocate for fundamental reforms especially in Transport and Tax which are pivotal to expansion of businesses.
These will require partnership, consistent dialogues and support to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all.