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Hou’s vision

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The new Finance Minister, former CBSI Governor Rick Hou.

‘Let’s get down to business’

THE country’s new Finance Minister Rick Hou says he has a vision for the country as he vows to get the country’s economy back on its feet.

In an interview with The Solomon Star after he was sworn in yesterday, Mr Hou said although the country’s economy had improved compared to past years there are still lot to be done.

Mr Hou outlined some of his strategic plans and ideas that he thought would be best to benefit the country economically.

These are some of his plans:

  • Control the domestic inflation of prices of goods
  • Stabilize taxation and work towards alternatives that would see low paid workers not having to pay tax. This is what he plans to include in the next budget.
  • Look at possible ways to lower the tax rates to enable companies to be profitable. This Mr Hou said would increase the confidence of business houses and investors to invest in the country for more investment that would result in more economic activities.
  • Increase Government support to productive sectors such as supporting local farmers, fishermen and etc.
  • Invest more in the agricultural, commerce and particularly the tourism sector.

“I believe if we can achieve all these we will have a strong and broad economic base,” the new Finance Minister said.

But for now, Mr Hou said his immediate task is to get down to business and pass the budget.

He said he would be calling into his office today to meet his team and be briefed on the status of the budget before taking it up to Cabinet sometime this week.

“After Cabinet looks at it will be sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for scrutiny before taking it up to Parliament hopefully next month for debate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Hou appealed to all donor partners to continue to work closely with his ministry.

The new Finance Minister plans to visit donor partners as soon as he settles into office to re-affirm the Government’s relationship with them.