MALAITA Ma’asina Forum (MMF) says a warning
on establishing banking business Finance minister Rick Hou made in parliament
last week was “uncalled for.
Mr Hou had stated that anyone wishing to go into the banking business needs proper consultation with the Central Bank and must meet financial requirements before they could be issued permission.
But the president of MMF Charles Dausabea said they could not believe such statement would come from a national leader with a bulk of experience in the banking industry.
“We expect Mr Hou to offer encouraging advice and work with locals for economic independence than issuing warning statements,” Mr Dausabea said during a press conference yesterday.
However, he said MMF saw Mr Hou’s warning as a challenge to work hard and achieve economic independence for the country through the establishment of bank.
“MMF believes Solomon Islanders have the credentials, qualifications and experience to establish, operate and manage its own bank.
“It is time that this country stands up on its own to gain economic independence rather than depending on foreign influence and dominance over our economic wellbeing.
“Allowing foreigners to run this country is a time bomb for our future generation and MMF does not want to see this happen.
“We had seen and experienced enough of this and it’s time we must act for the interest of our people,” Mr Dausabea said.
He added that the finance minister should have shown some leadership to “assist his people than to serve foreign interest which will never benefit people of this nation”.
Mr Dausabea said as former governor of the Central Bank, Mr Hou should have made the right decision for the National Provident Fund to buy off the 51 percent shares of the Bank of Hawaii.
“However, Mr Hou at that time blocked the decision resulting in Bank of Hawai’I gifting its shares to three Australian partners of law firm Sol-Law, in spite of taking the matter to the High Court.
“As a result it was ruled that each of the lawyers did not need CBSI approval because the 17 percent shareholding was below the 20 percent threshold that would require Mr Hou’s approval then,” Mr Dausabea said.
The MMF president calls on Mr Hou to assist and encourage Solomon Islanders to become more involved and seize control of their destiny than to issue warnings which are not in the best interest of this country.
“If the finance minister wants to issue warnings, it should be director to the existing banks and financial institutions.
“Mr Hou should warn NPF board why it is not doing anything about giving back to its members what rightly belongs to them instead of keeping the money with the commercial banks to lend it to non-members.”
Mr Dausabea also urged the finance minister to look into where the shares formerly held by the Bank of Hawaii in the National Bank of Solomon Islands (NBSI).
He said one of the trusts held by Dennis McGuire had been settled after a case was brought before the court of appeal.
“What about the other two trusts called NBSI Health & Welfare Trust, whose trustee is John Sullivan QC and NBSI Education Trust whose trustee is John Katahanas?” Mr Dausabea asked.
By Daniel Namosuia
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