LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has raised concerns that the process of applying for a bank account has become an obstacle for many Solomon Islanders.
Speaking in Parliament today on the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (Amendment) Bill 2023, Hon Wale said the process of opening bank accounts has become a mountain to climb for ordinary Solomon Islanders.
He said the additional requirements imposed on PEPs are simply prohibitive.
“Obviously when these requirements push the other way – some may prefer to remain outside the banking system. And that is not good for the economy and financial system,” Hon Wale said.
The Opposition Leader said it seems that these requirements have gone overboard and are of arguable use to our economy.
Hon Wale said Solomon Islanders are being forced by outside forces that place a noose around the neck of our economy by these restrictions.
“This is not an argument to protect criminality, but for the need to be contextual to our stage of development. Most of these restrictions are unnecessary at best,” he said.
Hon Wale said who is responsible for this madness, and what can be done to remove or at least reduce them.
He said the Committee asked the Governor who is responsible for this madness, and he said he isn’t.
“The Governor said these are the requirements of the international anti-money laundering regulatory framework. If we were non-compliant, we would be sanctioned,” Hon Wale said.
The Opposition Leader said this is just grossly unfair to Solomon Islanders.
He said there must be a way to make it easier for Solomon Islanders to be banked.