THE Malaita Provincial Premier Daniel Suidani has labeled the proposed USD$100 billion (SBD$800b) loan from a private Chinese source as an ‘eternal debt trap’ for the Solomon Islands.
Premier Suidani after viewing the documents released by local media last week shared his grave concern about the proposed deal.
This was through the finance minister Harry Kuma on behalf of the government with a Chinese source.
He said the loan is even more than the amount of money the country could make in 100 years.
The premier said he cannot believe the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare seeking such a mega loan.
“This loan is more money than what the Solomon Islands economy makes in 100 years.”
“I cannot believe that the government is seeking such a mega loan.
“The interest payment alone of USD$11b (SBD$90b) is more than the entire Solomon Islands economy for 3 years,” Suidani said.
He added that the Solomon Islands GDP is only about USD$1 billion (SBD$8b) each year, but the annual interest for the loan will be USD$3b (SBD$24b) dollars.
“So it means that even if we used every cent of Solomon Islands economy to repay this loan, it will still not be enough.
“We will still be short of USD$2billion (SBD$16b) per annum,” the premier added.
The Malaita Premier also raised security concerns for such a huge loan.
“This USD$100b amount can only be secured by giving up all of our resources, our land and even our oceans.
“That is the only security that is huge enough for a loan which is so huge,” he added.
Suidani further explained that the country will default on this loan even within days or weeks.
“And then what will happen to the security for the loan? We will lose everything.
“As the premier of Malaita Province, I must make it clear that while this is still a proposal, this cannot be allowed to happen,” he said.
He said the proposal clearly shows the intention of the current regime and what it intends to do while in power.
Premier Suidani said the way the current government regime is using its statutory authority in making decision on critical issues of national interest has raised a warning to the citizens of this country to wake up.
“The current ruling regime is not responsible enough. The national leaders of this country must not use the statutory powers vested on them as though they are divine.
“We the leaders must remember the powers we are responsible for exercising, emanates from the people and are meant for the progress and prosperity of our people.
“This is exactly the type of debt trap that my people of Malaita were thinking of when they opposed the China switch.
“This deal is not only a debt trap; this is an eternal debt trap. And it is coming from China, which is exactly what we expected,” he stated.
He went on to express that pursuing the billion dollar scheme is clearly government policy and Kuma as the Minister of Finance is the most senior Minister under the PM.
Premier Suidani said Kuma has written to these people on official letterhead and therefore this reflects the policy of this government.
“Kuma has not gone to cabinet, but, I am sure there are others in the government who are aware of the deal.
“For such a huge amount, it must go to the top,” Suidani said.
This paper understands that the Malaita Provincial Premier is the only premier to have spoken against the DCGA’s intention to switch ties from Taiwan to China in September 2019.
One of the elements he warned the government on before the switch and after the switch is the controversial Chinese ‘Debt trap’ which is now starting to surface.
By WILSON SAENI