Leader of Opposition and MP for Aoke Langa Langa Constituency Hon. Mathew Wale has acknowledged the commitments made by three of our long time traditional donor partners to provide additional financial assistance in key areas of need and says, the gestures could not have come at a better time and considering, they too have their own problems at home.
The statement follows the announcement that Australia, Japan and New Zealand have all made commitments to provide additional financial support to Solomon Islands which will see Australia providing a $85M funding assistance to procure and distribute COVOD -19 Vaccine, Japan injecting $14.5M to assist in the fight against corruption and New Zealand’s $10m finance package to help in the ongoing fight against the Rhinoceros beetle.
The Opposition states that this assistance from the Australian Government and people is really timely, adding that the health and safety of our people is a key prerequisite if we are to quickly return to normalcy any time soon.
“Easy and quick access to the much needed Covid-19 medication will be key in this process. The assistance by Australia therefore relieves our government of a huge cost and will help give confidence to people and business going about their normal activities. This is very important and so I thank the Government and people of Australia for their generosity.
“On the same note, I also thank the Governments and people of Japan and New Zealand. Corruption and the Rhinoceros beetle and other pests share something in common,” says Hon. Wale.
He says they all eat away at the fabrics of our economy and systems. While corrupt practice in our productive sector has been around longer, pests such as the rhinoceros beetle are now adding to the mix of problems we have to deal with in our coconut industry and agricultural sector at large.
“Any chance of us doing things differently and attracting international investors and export opportunities depends largely on addressing these problems at home,” adds Hon. Wale.
The Opposition Leader went on to further add that, “Whether we like it or not, the Covid-19 experience will set our economy back by years and unless we deal with the high level of corruption in the productive sector and our pest problems, our efforts may well be in vain moving forward. The commitments made by these two countries therefore tells a lot about their appreciation for the seriousness of the problems”.
Wale points out that as Solomon Islanders therefore, we should be grateful to these Traditional partners for stepping in when and where it really matters, stressing that the economic benefits we stand to gain from these assistance can be huge.
“I therefore call on the government to encourage other major donors to follow suit. While the government can give donors a shopping list, under current circumstances, it should be focusing more on what will assist in bringing normalcy quickly.
“The health and safety of our people and the dire need to redirect the growth of our economy are matters of national interest that should always be at the forefront of our diplomatic chit chat with all donors.
“I also urge the current leadership to work closely with these donors to ensure that the assistances provided are used for the intended purposes for the benefit our people and country,” says the Opposition Leader.