The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) was re-signed on Wednesday 15 July, 2020 for another two years aimed at paving the way for a strengthened partnership between Government and the private sector under the Public Private Partnership arrangement.
The MOU was signed by Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare, Minister of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration (MCILI), Hon Elijah Clezy Rore, SICCI Chair, Jay Bartlett and witnessed by MCILI Permanent Secretary, Riley Mesepitu and the SICCI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Atenasi Ata.
The signing ceremony coincided with the launch of the country’s ‘Iumi Tugeda’ Campaign at the National Museum Auditorium in Honiara.
“The re-signing of this MoU is again another significant milestone in strengthening the relationship between our Government and Business leaders,” SICCI Chair, Mr Bartlett, said.
“This MoU re-establishes a formal, structured public private dialogue mechanism that should allow us to arrive at an agreed position on reform priorities and to develop innovative solutions and policies that are in step with the ever changing domestic, regional and global landscape,” he added.
Mr Bartlett said the MoU platform will be the focus for SICCI for the next twenty-four (24) months and on that note sincerely thanked the SICCI Secretariat, members and affiliates for the continued support to the SICCI Board and its vision to focus on such a framework.
It was reiterated at Wednesday’s gathering of high-level Government delegation, private sector and development partners that the Solomon Islands’ Government priority is to ensure that the country maintains economic stability, remains safe and continues to progress despite the current COVID-19 situation.
To achieve these priority objectives, the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) is currently in the process of redirecting our policies to focus on investing into and firmly establishing the fundamental pillars of development based on inclusivity and meaningful participation that will also provide a catalyst for socio-economic growth in strategically targeted sectors.
As such, Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare said Government’s partnership with the private sector is of unparalleled importance.
Hon Sogavare maintained that his Government will continue to work together with SICCI, as the peak body representing private sector in Solomon Islands, to drive the country forward during these unprecedented times.
“This partnership with SICCI was forged back in 6th July 2017 when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between myself as the Prime Minister, the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration and the Chairman of SICCI.
“This partnership has provided a platform for policy discussions and for both parties to explore new ways and ideas of doing business across both sectors, and I must say what better time to explore new ways and ideas then now, during the ‘new normal’,” the Prime Minister said.
The partnership with Government also gave rise to other initiatives, which includes SICCI to be consulted in pre-budget meetings, provide inputs to infrastructure development, minimum wage discussions, and being involved in other areas of mutual interest, such as the undersea cable project.
The Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement 100 days policy was also launched during the Prime Minister’s Breakfast, an annual event hosted by SICCI, which was also an initiative of this partnership.
“During my first state visit to People’s Republic of China I was also accompanied by members of SICCI as well. This is a reflection of the esteem that this Government holds for SICCI.
“As such, it gives me great pleasure to announce that this partnership will be renewed today (Wednesday 15 July, 2020) with the signing of another Memorandum of Understanding.
“This partnership is the ultimate manifestation of our campaign, ‘Iumi Tugeda’,” the Prime Minister said.
“I would especially like to acknowledge our Honorable Prime Minister for playing a key role in ensuring that this has become a reality and by personally putting pen to paper once again. This is the true spirit of unity we share,” the SICCI Chair, Mr Bartlett, said.
An initial two-year MoU was signed between SICCI and Government in July 2017 critical in providing a platform for policy dialogue. A SIG – Private Sector Advisory Group was established to accommodate these discussions between SIG officials from core Ministries and private sector representatives from SICCI on a quarterly basis.
Through the Advisory Group, the Government and the private sector will work towards exploring solutions that a tailor-fit to Solomon Islands context. Both sides will work with the private sector to make recommendations towards the effective implementation of identified Public Private Partnership opportunities. This is an important strategy to encourage Government to lend an open ear to the sector that creates the country’s wealth as well as pays taxes that support Government services.