Wednesday 2 September, Honiara – Instead of treating COVID-19 as a stand-alone crisis, it should also be a wake-up call for Solomon Islands as a country to rethink on how we want our economy to perform post COVID-19 and into the future.
Speaking during a special one-hour session before the Iumi Tugeda Against COVID-19 Talk-back show on Sunday 30 August, Chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Mr Jay Bartlett highlighted that the global pandemic has exposed some of the country’s areas of weakness in regards to health infrastructure and a narrow economy that depends so much on the forestry sector (logging).
“Solomon Islands is very fortunate as a small nation with ample labour, fertile land and so opportunities are plenty. So, this is the time for us as a country to work together and rethink how our future will look.
“What decisions will we make today to ensure that in the future we have a better economy that is more sustainable and one that can even be resilient against this and other global shocks,” Mr Bartlett said.
He said Government including its stakeholders must work together to come up with a clear vision for the next five or so years and how we are going to work through the current global pandemic.
“For businesses, we can try to weather the storm but we need to know on the other side [when the pandemic ends] what’s going to happen when we come through.”
“This is why regular conversations and collaboration with Government is needed,” Mr Bartlett said.
SICCI is always open to partnership representing the views and concerns of more than two hundred businesses who are members of the Chamber, 70% of which are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“Our decision making is driven by our members. Moving forward, we are always willing to work closely with Government and have constructive dialogue.
“It is easy for us to criticize each other but that rarely gives us solutions to progress. So as a Chamber our thinking is that we need to work together with all our stakeholders including our development partners, our decision-makers and especially our members.
“We will not always agree with the decisions Government makes and they’ll be times when we have different positions but we still value and maintain that engagement.
“Constructive, positive dialogue and finding the best way forward that protects citizens from COVID-19 and the way we can keep our economy afloat moving forward, that is important,” SICCI Chairman, Mr Bartlett, said.
The Chairman concluded by making an open call to registered businesses who are not yet a member to join the Chamber and come behind the work it does.