‘Can we manage China’s appetite for our natural resources?’
By ANDREW FANASIA
CHINA is certainly eyeing Solomon Islands raw materials to boosts its economy and sustain its 1.4 billion people but are we capable of managing it?
This question was raised during the Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday when the head of ministerial delegation Peter Shanel Agovaka appeared before the committee.
In his information he provided the notion of China’s interest in the country’s raw materials and natural resources is overwhelming.
“It is not a secret that most of our raw materials like timber and logs ended up in China,” he told the hearing.
FRC chairman Peter Kenilorea Jnr further asked if the team is aware of the China’s ‘appetite for resources’.
“Currently with Taiwan our fish is their paramount resource which Solomon Islands traded with for some years now,” he added.
Kenilorea’s concern is more on the management China’s appetite for the country’s resources if Solomon Islands will sever ties with Taiwan and switch to main land China (PRC).
Agovaka in his response admitted that China has 1.4 billion people so raw materials are important for them and their economy.
He further confirmed that China is interested in the country’s raw materials particularly in forestry sector, agriculture sector, fisheries sector and the mining sector.
“But for us as the country its about managing our resources sustainably,” he admitted.
This paper understands that managing our resources is one of the tough issues the government is facing especially when mismanagement and corruption easily penetrate our governance system.
Agovaka added that China is also interested in our tourism industry and infrastructure development.
Kenilorea emphasised that these are the real concern that the government must seriously consider down the lane before it can establish ties with China.