Chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Mr Jay Bartlett, believes that it is now time to seriously consider the establishment of an annual Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands Business Forum for businesses from both countries.
A proposal that has received encouraging support from the Prime Ministers of both countries, Hon Manasseh Sogavare and Hon James Marape of PNG.
Mr Bartlett was speaking at a luncheon on Friday 28th February 2020 in Honiara hosted by SICCI for the visiting PNG Prime Minister and the 42 strong business representatives who were part of the PM’s delegation which included CEOs, General Managers and business executives from PNG.
“It’s now time that businesses from both countries have a forum that has alternating hosting cities of Port Moresby and Honiara.
“In fact, this gathering today (Friday 28 February) in essence is this very notion manifesting itself and I believe it is not a coincidence that our very two Prime Ministers who have instigated this opportunity are present today. Whilst we seek their blessing, we also stand ready to progress this forum as partners, as friends and as wantoks,” SICCI Chairman, Mr Bartlett, said.
PNG Prime Minister, Hon James Marape supported the proposed PNG-Solomon Islands Business Forum while also confirming having agreed to it with his Solomon Islands counterpart Hon Manasseh Sogavare during their bilateral discussions earlier on Friday 28th February.
The Business Forum will coincide with the annual leaders meeting between PNG and Solomon Islands.
“At our annual leaders meeting, we will also have our annual PNG-Solomon Islands Business Forum.
“I thank Mr Bartlett (SICCI Chairman) for arranging this luncheon, and I ask that you and your colleagues in Port Moresby work on something and we can have a sister arrangement on the side of our bilateral discussions that will take place every year and we can have this Business Forum where we can build from strength to strength going into the future,” the PNG Prime Minister said.
“Governments will not run without our businessmen and women who work hard to earn their money, pay their tax allowing us to serve the people in our constituencies and so we should pay respect to every effort put in by businesses,” Hon Marape added.
SICCI members also took the opportunity for interpersonal networking with the visiting PNG business delegation and hope this will culminate in closer focus between the two countries.