SICCI Roundtable Highlights Opportunities for Raising Government Revenue from Businesses
Quoting the Solomon Times – 4 June 2020
”A level playing field’ continues to be a SICCI concern, as it is important that businesses coexist in a spirit of competition all the while complying with Government legal framework.
“The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) hosted a roundtable meeting on Wednesday 3 June 2020 to discuss ways in which the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) can maximize its opportunities for revenue collection from businesses.
“By doing this, SICCI aims to promote an environment where business confidence can increase because of a level playing field.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Times.
Tourist Arrivals Fall 48.6% Due to Covid-19
Quoting the Solomon Times – 4 June 2020
“Visitors from Australia, the biggest source of tourists, tumbled 41.0 per cent to 1,626 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 where the figure was 2,757.
“The number of tourist arrivals in Solomon Islands fell 48.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 due to impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worldwide and in our region, the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office said, Wednesday 3 June.
“Government Statistician Douglas Kimi while releasing the International Arrivals statistical report said a total of 8,340 arrivals were recorded in the first quarter of 2020. This is a decrease of 48.6 per cent compared to the 4th quarter of 2019.
“Compared to the same quarter a year ago, a decrease of 29.6 per cent was noted,” Mr. Kimi said.
“Visitors from Australia, the biggest source of tourists, tumbled 41.0 per cent to 1,626 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 where the figure was 2,757.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Times.
3 June 2020
With an eye on Solomon Islands: More funding to help address the Covid-19 pandemic
According to a press release today from the IMF, the Executive Board of the IMF has approved a disbursement to the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI) for an amount of SDR20,8 million (about US$28.5 million, 100 percent of quota).
According to Mr. Tao Zhang, the Deputy Managing Director and Chair of the IMF, “The global and domestic measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are severely affecting the Solomon Islands economy, through their impact on commodities exports, tourism and domestic activity.”
Mr. Tsang reportedly added, “These have given rise to an urgent balance of payments needs. The IMF support under the Rapid Financing Instrument and Rapid Credit Facility, in addition to the recent approval of debt service relief under the CCRT, will help address immediate financing needs and catalyze additional support from other development partners”
“The IMF financial support will make a substantial contribution to filling immediate external financing needs that have emerged due to COVID-19.”
In separate news, also today, it has been reported that Australia will commit $3.5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Pacific Health Sector Support Plan (phase II) which will facilitate the delivery of health advice and supplies to Pacific Island countries.
“The Australian Government is working in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum to contribute to its initiative to establish a Pacific Humanitarian Pathway amid global supply chain disruptions.
“This vital Forum initiative ensures the passage of humanitarian and medical supplies within the Pacific as we work together to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Hon Simon Kofe, Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers, welcomed the initiative and said: “Australia’s support will ensure that the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway will be able to deliver much needed humanitarian and medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its actions, Australia is working to achieve values of family ties and care for neighbours throughout the Pacific.”
“Australia will also provide $5.5 million to the World Food Programme to support efforts to manage COVID-19 in the region. This includes $4 million for air transport and logistics services for the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway, the delivery of humanitarian and critical medical supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment, and assessments of the impact of COVID-19 on food security in the Pacific.
“We welcome Australia’s strong support for the Pacific’s regional response to COVID-19,” said Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Dame Meg Taylor. “We are working together to deliver an efficient and effective Pacific Humanitarian Pathway, and are ensuring Pacific voices and ownership are at the heart of our response to COVID-19.”
“This unprecedented crisis is threatening the health, wellbeing, and security of all Pacific peoples. By working as one region, we will get through this time of hardship together.”
Source: Solomon Star News.
The Chair of the IMF mentioned in the press release from his organisation how the travel industry in the Solomon Islands had suffered as consequence of the COVID-19 threat and it was of interest to learn from a Radio New Zealand news bulletin this morning that pressure is mounting for New Zealand to make a Pacific bubble a priority along with, or even ahead of, opening its borders with Australia,
The Cook Islands News reports the International Pilots Association has formally requested that a New Zealand-Australia travel zone be extended to Pacific nations including Fiji, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.
HIGH Court of Solomon Islands on 29th/05/2020 issued an order to cease all logging operations in Malaita province.
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 3 June 2020
“The High Court has ordered a halt to all logging operations in Malaita province.
“The law institution gave its verdict on May 29 this year.
“The decision is a result of the Malaita provincial government’s (MPG) campaign against logging companies following their continued failure to pay their business licence fees to the province.”
Copyright @ 2020, Island Sun newspaper.
2 June 2020
Solomon Islands: The issue of rights amidst COVID-19 measures.
COVID-19 has already being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and it has grave worldwide health implications owing to its exponential spread.
It is clear that the virus poses a serious danger to public health and as such restriction of movement by the Solomon Islands Government, I consider, have been much in line with human rights principles.
The power imbued on the government to make rules and regulations as to the restriction of movement of citizens does not by extension affect other obligations of the government under international and domestic laws. At all times, the obligations owed citizens by the government remain extant except where derogation is permitted by law.
The ban on large gatherings and curfews affects the right to peaceful assembly and to a large extent the right to freedom of association, but when considering the. right of free movement and assembly in the Solomon Islands it must be recognized that due to the COVID-19 threat that the existing requirements on the exercise of such rights have had to be imposed due to the interests of public health.
Faced with the threat of COVID -19, it seems to be that if restrictions on assembly and free association had not been imposed, the chances of COVID-19 spreading into the country would have been much higher.
One should remember that COVID-19 is a serious life shortening disease and I believe the Solomon Islands government has been right to take protective measures that seem to have temporarily derogated from some rights which have, hitherto, included rights to free movement.