BY GEORGINA KEKEA
MEMBERS of Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) yesterday took part in a presentation and panel discussion on the Graduation of Solomon Islands from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreements (iEPA).
Organised by SICCI, the discussion was the first of its kind for business houses on this topic. Presenting the LDC graduation, Chief Planning Officer of the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Matsuko Pelomo enlightens the participants on the LDC and Solomon Islands graduation from LDC to a Developing Country and also gave a brief roadmap of LDC and Solomon Islands graduation from it.
Ms Pelomo in her presentation said for the Solomon Islands to move forward, the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2016 to 2035, has identified linkages and alignment of individual objectives, Medium Term Strategies and sector goals to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will help prepare Solomon Islands for a smooth transition post LDC.
“Government and the private sector needs to work in collaboration in implementing the NDS.”
Meanwhile speaking during the panel discussion, Trade Commissioner in MFAET says Solomon Islands will normally have a three year grace period during which it retains its LDC status and is expected to negotiate with its development partners a smooth transition to post LDC status.
“At the end of the grace period, Solomon Islands will officially graduate from LDC status.”
Also presenting the iEPA, Director Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, George Tuti gave a brief overview of the iEPA and made specific mention of Companies lack of access to information. He said because of this, they will also be carrying out awareness through the different mediums available to help people and businesses understand the trading sector.
Tuti says transparency and access to trade data and information is crucial to ensure greater participation of micro, small and medium sized enterprises in international value chains.
He also said the LDC links to the iEPA thus Solomon Islands needs to sign onto the iEPA.
The Economic Partnership Agreements are a scheme to create a free trade area between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
In the panel discussion yesterday, a number of questions and comments were raised with members appreciating the event organised by SICCI to bring to light the crucial stage the country is in, and the need for the private sector to be informed and be aware of the country’s transformation.
The event yesterday was sponsored by a number of SICCI’s Platinum and Gold members and presentation done officers of the Government’s ministries.