‘Praise God for the last 40 years’
By LESLEY SANGA
PRIME Minister (PM) Rick Houenipwela reminds Solomon Islanders to give thanks to God for the many blessing they have received during the last forty years.
“To my People of Solomon Islands, as we venture into the next 40 years of our journey, we must always stop to give thanks for the many blessings that God has bestowed on us for the last 40 years,” he appealed.
He said we must show gratitude for what we have, despite our challenges, we are abundantly blessed.
He said never take anything for granted: give thanks for each breath of life, each sunrise and each sunset.
“For each day we wake to sounds of the birds singing and not to the sound of artillery and bombs,” PM added.
He said for we are able to smile, sing and laugh and not be persecuted for our religious beliefs.
“And for the continued partnerships between Solomon Islands, our development partners and their people we must be thankful,” he went on.
“So, for our journey into the next 40 years, it is my wish that today, we make a pledge,” he said.
He said a pledge to our Lord, to each other and to ourselves.
“A pledge that because we are abundantly blessed, we will rise, we will take our nation to new heights, we will be united, and we will be a nation that will stand forever more,” he stressed.
“Solomon Islands belong to you and to me and only we can change the course of our beloved Solomon Islands,” he concluded.
PM ambitious to address unemployment
By LESLEY SANGA
PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela cautioned the nation on high rate of youth unemployment in the country and unveils important steps to address the problem.
PM said our youth, which comprise more than 50 percent of the county’s population, do not have adequate employment and / or entrepreneurship opportunities.
“Therefore they are not able to contribute effectively to our country’s economic development,” he pointed out.
“A reform in our education curricular will ensure our youths are more competitive in the labour market,” Mr Houenipwela stated.
He said that the Government is now taking steps to create innovative employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for our young people through-out the country.
“This year we will introduce a new Youth Empowerment Policy to drive youth employment and entrepreneurship in the country,” he highlighted.
Mr. Houenipwela said this framework will also include programs for leadership training, in sports, arts and drama and many other areas of interest to our youth population.
“To enhancing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youths in the country, I am personally seeking to put in place formal labour mobility agreements with several countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Taiwan that I hope will help provide huge opportunities for our youths and alleviate the youth unemployment challenges in our country,” PM revealed.
“We must step up efforts to support our women in businesses initiatives and programs as well,” he said.
Economy shows positive signs
By LESLEY SANGA
SOLOMON Islands economy has been enjoying positive growth for the past several years, says Prime Minister Rick Hou.
The Prime Minister highlighted this, when speaking at the country’s 40th Independence celebration in Honiara, last Friday.
He said,that would have enhanced opportunities for business in areas such as infrastructure services, tourism development, sustainable forestry, agri-industry and fisheries.
“In recent years, except for a contraction in 2014 caused by devastating floods and the closure of Gold Ridge mine, it grew by 2.9% in 2015, 3.2% in 2016 and in 2017 of growth of 3.0% has been recorded.
“However, the strong momentum in 2017 is not expected to carry into 2018 and 2019, with GDP growth projected to be 3.5 percent in 2018 and 3.4 per cent in 2019.
“This is primarily due to the expected fall in the value of log exports and fishing activities,” said the Prime Minister.
He added, the Government is addressing this simmering risk to revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
Prime Minister Hou said that, given the impact from the closure of Gold Ridge Mine, it is one of the main policy drivers of the Government to reopen Gold Ridge.
“After much discussion, I am more than hopeful that this will eventuate with the first gold pour in 2019,” he said.
PM calls for unity
By LESLEY SANGA
AS the country celebrates its 40 years of independence, Prime Minister Rick Hou says there is a need for people to work in unity to solve the challenges facing them.
Prime Minister Hou made the tough call, when addressing the nation during the 40th independence celebration last week, in Honiara.
“As we all can recall, we have faced serious challenges including the ethnic conflict.
“But the challenges we faced, strengthened our resilience as a people, and our resolve as a nation,” Prime Minister said.
He added that the challenges we faced showed us the value of unity, for there is more that unites us, than divide us.
“We must ensure the security of our nation remain strong and firm. That we remain united, as one people, living in peaceful co-existence.”
He said this is the legacy we must guard with honour to pass on to our future generations – the legacy of peace, reconciliation and unity; the legacy of one people, one vision, one destiny and one nation.
“Fellow Solomon Islanders, we all have a collective responsibility to our beloved nation. It is my hope that we can work together for the common good of current and future generations.”
He said,regardless of where we are, and what we each do – we all have a moral responsibility to our nation.
Together we can all contribute to the kind of Solomon Islands we wish to leave behind for our children and grandchildren. He said.
“Never before has there been a better platform for us to launch our journey for the next 40 years than we have now.
“We have learnt from our lessons. We know what it is like to grieve; but we also know what it is like to be rise above the hurts and be reconciled, to be liberated and to be free.
So let us join hands as we march with confidence toward our future,” the prime minister said.
“The future of Solomon Islands is in our hands. Actions and decisions by our Leaders today, in all walks of life, will determine what kind of Solomon Islands we will see in 40 years.
“Our decisions and action today can either empower or condemn our future generations – We must choose wisely,” he added.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said, to guide us, we must be united with a vision that portrays “a strong, secure, peaceful and prosperous Solomon Islands whose people are educated, healthy and manage their resources in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way”.