By EDDIE OSIFELO
SOLOMON Islands development challenges since Independence in 1978 offers two lessons.
Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma stated this when he delivered the $4 billion budget in Parliament yesterday.
He said first, if Solomon Islands is to grow and develop into a society that is economically vibrant, sustainable and prosperous, then “we must ensure there is political and economic stability, and strong ethical leadership.
“We need leaders who are not afraid to ‘DO THE RIGHT THING’ even in the midst of severe crisis and mounting difficulties,” he said.
Kuma said second, is that the true wealth of this country does not lie in monetary values and material goods alone.
He said “the true wealth of this country is our people; the very people we represent in this Honourable House.
“Our people’s possessions such as the natural environment, land, sea, culture, religious beliefs, and ethnic diversity are also part of our wealth.
“The DCGA government policies and development strategies are premised on moving away from doing business as usual, to actually getting things done. Getting things did mean helping our people to help themselves improve their quality of life,” he said.
Kuma said the task of transforming our people’s socio-economic challenges is immense and well known:
1. our economy is small, highly dispersed and very vulnerable to international adverse developments;
2. the private sector is not well developed and needs to function in a transparent environment supported by quality infrastructure;
3. More than half of our population is young and not employed; and
4. emerging environmental challenges pose serious threats to our people’s livelihood.
As such, Kuma urges the 50 Members of Parliament to RISE AND DO THE RIGHT THING and take the initiative in the critical task of reversing the damage done arising from the covid-19 pandemic.
He said “all Members of this Honourable House must therefore remain united and show that we are all here for the common interest of our country”.
Debates continue today.