OPPOSITION Leader Hon Matthew Wale says the country’ economy is built on an exploitative model.
Hon Wale said the extractive industry has led the way, aided and abetted by Solomon Islands government leaders.
The Opposition Leader said as a result natural resources are removed from our islands, and our people gain absolutely nothing from our resources.
“No tangible sustainable development has resulted from this exploitative economy. The country’s wealth goes overseas through unrestrained transfer pricing, aided and abetted by the country’s leaders,” Hon Wale highlighted in one of his recent excerpts on the China security deal.
The Opposition Leader said indigenous Solomon Islanders own all the natural resources, but are marginalized by this exploitative economy.
Hon Wale said there is no incentive to change the status quo, as long as key government leaders continue to be the beneficiaries of this exploitative economy.
He said the exploitative economy only works for foreign interests.
“Indigenous Solomon Islanders ask why their own government goes out of its way to serve foreign business interests, and neglect their own people. This is a key driver of internal discontent, and a threat to stability. The PLA cannot address this. On the contrary, Sogavare’s deal with China is more likely to be used to further entrench this by protecting a corrupt central government from accountability to the people,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said no country could be truly secure and stable when 80% of its population is unemployed.
He said our people are a very tolerant lot, but their patience has been running thin for a while.
Hon Wale adds the exploitative economy will never build the future Solomon Islands that must give hope to our young.
The Opposition Leader said serious substantive structural reforms are needed to make the Solomon Islands economy work for Solomon Islanders.
“Is it an unreasonable expectation for a young Solomon Islander to look forward to a job on leaving school? Economic opportunities for young Solomon Islanders are scarce, and the playing field for entry into meaningful economic participation is grossly uneven. Their own government is too busy looking after foreign interests to care about their own people,” he said.
Hon Wale said the Prime Minister’s deal with China is likely to perpetuate this status quo for a very long time to come.
He said this is a key driver of discontent and a threat to national security and stability and it is not helped by a government that rejects diverse opinions.
Hon Wale said the reach and quality of government services to the majority of Solomon Islanders is also very poor.
He said the education system continues to produce a substandard quality product for the 21st century.
“Solomon Islanders wonder why, with all the natural wealth being exploited in the country, is access to education still expensive and beyond the affordability of many. Solomon Islanders ask why poor health and death must continue to be taken for granted as a matter of life for the majority. Are these unreasonable questions to ask of their government? Opposition Leader Wale questioned.
He said these are the drivers of domestic discontent and pose threats to national stability, unity and security.
“If the Prime Minister is serious about addressing national security, he should start with these drivers and seek radical redirection of government to deal substantively with them. Sogavare’s deal with China cannot address these things,” Hon Wale said.