BY GEORGINA KEKEA
THE SIG – Private Sector Advisory Group Meeting has just had its first meeting after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed six months ago.
The MOU in question was the Public Private Partnership arrangement between the Government and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) signed in July 2017.
A part of the MOU was for the establishment of an Advisory Group to be chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Commerce Industry Labour Immigration (MCILI).
Speaking to local media after the meeting, chairman of the Advisory Group and Permanent Secretary (PS) of MCILI, Riley Mesepitu says this partnership should enable the private sector to grow.
Mr Mesepitu said the meeting yesterday is the first of its kind with many more sessions to come.
“Currently what was discussed was only introduction of the Advisory Group not so much on the issues as yet,” says Mesepitu.
Echoing the PS’s support for this Advisory Group, Special Secretary to Prime Minister, John Muria (Jnr) says this is a new step in a new direction.
Mr Muria says an example of how the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) concept can assist in the development of the country is through the private sector’s contribution in the government’s budget.
Asked whether government can also make changes in its systems to cater for general public and private sector’s interest, Muria said there is room for changes to be made in the government systems through greater collaboration with the private sector.
“There will be legal issues but if there is need for changes to be made, so be it because after all we want what is practical for everyone.”
For SICCI, Board Chairman, Jeremy Bartlett reiterates that the MOU is a significant milestone for the private sector. He says this is bridging the gap that had been missing in past years and a new beginning with a lot to do and to achieve.
Mr Bartlett says the responsibility of the country’s development however does not belong to the government nor the private sector only but everyone in this country.
“How can we be part of the solution?” Bartlett said.
The Advisory Group as per the MOU is responsible for providing a forum for dialogue on matters relating to developing public private partnership opportunities in the country as well as to recommend policy directions on areas of mutual interest, recommend legislative initiative for fully effecting identified PPP opportunities and to advise government and private sectors on matters related and or incidental to the development of any PPP regime.
The SIG – Private Sector Advisory Group is expected to meet once a month.