“We need enforcement in order to create ‘level playing field’ for businesses”: SICCI
Monday 24 May, Honiara – The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), as the peak body representing private sector, is supportive and encouraged by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) intention to closely monitor policy and legislation implementation in Solomon Islands.
This according to the Chamber is very relevant because in many areas, Solomon Islands have strong and fit-for-today regulations and policies but lacks enforcement and implementation.
‘A level playing field’ continues to be a SICCI concern, as it is important that businesses coexist in a spirit of competition all the while complying with Government legal framework.
Some examples where compliance is expected is in fulfilling company obligations as regulated by Government, adhering to tax regulations and complying with Occupational health and safety standards.
During the Prime Minister’s Business Breakfast event SICCI hosted on Friday 21st May for members of the business community, SICCI Chairman, Mr. Ricky Fuo’o took the opportunity to highlight that the Private Sector is keen to work with Government to ensure a ‘win-win’ outcome for both parties through all economic activities.
“Where we get really constrained is when we do not have the same treatment for all businesses,” he said.
“This impacts the affected businesses, dilutes the investment climate for new entrepreneurs and stains the social ecosystem by demonstrating the wrong example when ‘rogue operators’ thrive,” Mr. Fuo’o added.
An example is the shipping industry being heavily dominated by foreign players who are slowly driving out local service providers in the industry.
In June 2020, SICCI organised a roundtable involving both private sector and Government bodies to discuss ways in which Government can maximise its opportunities for revenue collection from businesses.
By doing this, SICCI aims to promote an environment where business confidence can increase because of a level playing field.
In August 2020, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance shared with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament the importance to tackle leakage of Government revenue.
Mr. Fuo’o said there was a clear call to enforce all legal standards for operating businesses in Solomon Islands.
“We do not need new legislation – we need enforcement. – we need fair tax collection from all operating parties. We need close watch and corrective measures so that money does not get out of this country rather gets reinvested,” he said.
Mr. Fuo’o said it is important to note that SICCI looks forward to Government’s support to allow local businesses thrive in the country.
“Because all the local businesses are here to stay and work hand in hand with Government toward the path of development and progress under the theme ‘Iumi ‘Tugeda.
“In these current unprecedented times where the whole world is suffering from economic challenges, it is imperative for us to protect our local businesses and the private sector in general, with a view to protect local employment.
“This will ensure money circulation to the grassroot level even in rural economies and allow Solomon Islanders survive, if not thrive, in such trying times,” the SICCI Chair said.
Speaking during the event, Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare said the DCGA continues to support private sector development through productive sector re-direction policies.
“Investment opportunities crafted under the re-direction policies enables small and medium enterprises to mitigate the negative effects in the pathway for recovery and sustainable growth of the economy for better well beings and livelihoods.
“The Government re-affirms its support to provide safe environment for business developments and continue to support businesses to recover and stabilize cash flow in the economy,” the Prime Minister said.