Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI), is calling on Solomon Power and relevant government stakeholders to ensure the electricity loadshedding situation is resolved as soon as possible.
In a statement SICCI Chairperson, Qila Tuhanuku said the loadshedding situation is a crisis for local businesses.
“SICCI to date has sought information and raised our concerns through the right platforms both with Solomon Power and the senior government representations regarding the need to resolve the loadshedding situation quickly, unfortunately the initial response time was slow and that has cost businesses,” Ms Tuhanuku said, “this loadshedding is a crisis situation for the private sector, the impact on businesses have been severely felt over the last two months in terms of added costs and loss of revenue and there will be a flow on effect to the economy.”
Ms Tuhanuku expressed concern following the most recent update from Solomon Power that they expect loadshedding to be reduced by October, she said while SICCI is appreciative of the challenges Solomon Power is facing and the effort and resources they are putting into resolving the situation the fact remains the impact of the loadshedding on businesses’ costs and revenue is detrimental.
“Businesses are still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 riots and raising global costs due to the Ukraine conflict, they are not in a position to absorb these additional costs and most certainly cannot afford to lose any more revenue. If loadshedding is reduced by October that makes it a total of seven months of increased costs and loss of revenue that businesses are expected to absorb, for a lot of our members particularly the SMEs this is simply not viable.”
Ms Tuhanuku said in a recent survey conducted by SICCI on the impact of loadshedding on businesses, members have indicated that they have had to spend more on genset maintenance and spare parts, experienced damage to machinery and IT equipment whilst facing losses through lost sales or spoilt goods, to name a few.
“We are also aware that the recovery timeline presented by Solomon Power does not rule out delays to repair work and parts being delivered and that is deeply concerning, safe to say the loadshedding combined with inconsistent telecommunications network and the traffic disrupts caused by the road and sewer works puts at risk the already fragile 2.7% growth projected for 2023.”
Ms Tuhanuku said this is why it is absolutely critical that the current power situation be resolved as soon as possible as businesses cannot afford for this to continue beyond October.
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) is an organisation that represents the interests of businesses in the Solomon Islands. It was established in 1958 and is dedicated to promoting and developing commerce and industry in the country. It currently has over 200 members, 60% of which are SMEs and includes businesses based in the provinces.