THE Parliamentary Opposition Group has called on the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to clarify why there were no locals granted bechedemer export licenses.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Opposition Group said it was very unfortunate that no locals were selected by the ministry.
“The Opposition calls on the ministry to explain the criteria used which disqualified our local businessmen from being selected,” the statement said.
“Important questions that must also be answered are why and how these recipients were selected and who made the selection. The ministry must clarify all these questions,” it added.
The statement said the selection is regrettable and a slap on the face of indigenous business people.
“As resource owners, locals must and should be given equal opportunity and most importantly first priority,” it said.
According to officials within the Ministry of Commerce, most of the companies selected were classified as ‘watched companies’ because they failed to adhere to regulations; thus, failing to return annual returns over a certain period of time which resulted in the companies automatic removal from the registry.
“Company Haus and officials within the ministry have confirmed that company incorporation have shown that these companies do not have any history of active business in fisheries.
“Most have no physical establishment and only registered mobile numbers as their company contact details.
“Even a particular recipient ‘Solomon FVC New Process Import and Export Limited’ was not even registered under the Company Haus.
“Therefore, the ministry must explain clearly if all the recipients’ registration and incorporation background details were considered during the screening process,” it said.
The Opposition claimed that the whole selection process is fishy with hallmarks of political interference written all over it.
“Cabinet and the fisheries ministry must take full responsibility and answer to citizens of this country,” the statement said.