The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) on Friday 1st October, 2021 hosted a Lessons Learnt Workshop on Lockdown for business houses in the Honiara Emergency Zone.
Leading the discussions during were Deputy Commissioner Simpson Pogeava of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Director of National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Loti Yates and NDMO Chief Operations Officer, George Baragamu.
More than twenty participants attended including State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) and businesses in the manufacturing, legal, financial, security services, telecommunications, media and advertising, oil, petroleum and gas, and wholesale and retail services sectors.
These are businesses and organisations that fall in the Essential and Emergency services category and businesses with critical machinery that cannot be left unattended in an event of a lockdown.
Participating businesses shared their experiences from a commercial perspective with the previous lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 and made recommendations on areas that requires strengthening in regards to NDMO processes in the lead up to any future lockdown.
Delivering her opening remarks, SICCI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms. Natalina Hong said that while the purpose of the workshop is to get immediate feedback from businesses it is also key for the longer term on how such partnership with NDMO and RSIPF with the private sector will assist for a responsive and inclusive plan to emergency crisis.
“The COVID 19 pandemic has provided us with a challenge to existing structures and systems to emergency responses, but also an opportunity to find a way to work together as important partners,” she said.
Under the re-signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the RSIPF this year, SICCI has been identified as the focal point for all business applications to apply for exemption passes to operate during the Lockdown Simulation in late August 2021 to assist the Commissioner of RSIPF for granting exemption passes.
SICCI Vice Chairlady, Ms. Qila Tuhanuku reiterated the importance of the Public and Private Sector working together to identify the right processes.
She said in terms of a lockdown, this Lessons Learnt Workshop is the start of a critical engagement.
“Let’s be responsive, organized, and evolve together, becoming aware about the costs and duty of care associated with lockdown measures, taking into consideration our communities that our staff are coming from.
“Communication is key and the right information within the reasonable amount of time. The Solomon Islands Government have a strong partner in the private sector in the Chamber. We want to engage with the understanding that Government has limited resources and find a right way to engage with the Government,” Ms. Tuhanuku said.
SICCI is the peak body representing the Private Sector in the Solomon Islands representing over two hundred business houses in the country.
SICCI has an MoU with the Solomon Islands Government singed in 2017 and re-signed in 2020. Similarly, SICCI also has an MoU with RSIPF that also underwent two signing processes with the original signing in 2018 and resigning in 2021.