PM says he held back from sacking SIBC management

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PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says he has held back from sacking the management of the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC).

This was after SIBC did not make profit since 2018 and other infringements PM Sogavare decided not to reveal in Parliament on Tuesday.

As a result, Sogavare omitted SIBC from the schedule of the State-Owned Enterprises Act and it continues operating solely under the Broadcasting Act Cap 112.

In response to MP for Small Malaita Rick Hou, Sogavare said the only actions left is to sack them.

“I will not do that.

“As rightly observed by Hou, I called the CEO and discussed the analysis with him.

“He was shocked. What he said, thank you very much, it is within your right to take any actions against us,” Sogavare said.

“I said please go and start and address the concerns of government.

“Government is here. If you hear anything, come and seek clarification from right ministries before broadcasting,” he said.

Further to that, Sogavare said SIBC has not ceased operations, rather more control has been given to government.

He said it might not be a permanent arrangement.

However, Sogavare said maybe in long term, look at SOE Act because some of the SOE run to $200m to $300m in their accounts.

He said they only pay $5 million for dividends and should do service.

Sogavare said SOE improves governance issues.

He said it is good, have role to play, but not make service they want.

“At this point of time, decision stay like this,” he added.

Opposition Leader, Mathew Wale asked what is the government’s level of control in transition period over SIBC editorial policy.

Sogavare said they will not go to extend to tell everything government want to say.

“We are concern about certain things we are not happy.

“In the Broadcasting Act, I can report to Parliament,” he said.

However, Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, Douglas Ete said the idea of SOE is a structural adjustment programme of Government.

He said it is not wrong that Government thinks that way.

“Either privatising or get the Act to Parliament and repealed it.

“And get an Act that is open so that it is not seen that the Prime Minister is controlling SIBC because seemingly in this arrangement, government take it off from SOE because of the many reasons Prime Minister had said,” he said.

Ete believes this SIBC Act is too old and obsolete.

He said it is not good for the Prime Minister to summon the Board member, it would be seen as dictatorial approach and they don’t want it.

“Can government take a white paper to Parliament to discuss it before we canvass it for repealment and amendment of SIBC Act?” he asked.

Sogavare said when come to issues of good governance, SOE stand out clearly.

He said SOE introduced in 2007 on very reasons, level of control political government has over the bodies.

“Before introduction of SOE, people in government stayed in the Boards and helped to destroy the bodies.

“It is a serious big problem, we were saved by the introduction of SOE,” he said.

Sogavare said 90 percent of old issues of governance, get right people in Board and run this organisation.

He said maybe white paper on all SOEs because before they became SOEs, they are service delivery arms of the government.