The Leader of the Independent Group has called on the Government to shift-away from doing things as usual by cutting back on unnecessary one-off public holidays in the coming New Year 2020.
Robertson Galokale made the call in the light of the government’s recent declaration of today – Friday December 27 as a public holiday citing that whilst the Friday holiday may be socially good for public servants to take an extra day off to relax, the costs of financing on-going public services will be regrettably affected.
“Solomon Islands celebrates around nine major public holidays each year. This may not look excessive however, in addition to these nine holidays, each province has their own second appointed day celebrations that is only celebrated in their area. This tantamount to losing 19 working days in a calendar year for the whole country.
“It is not uncommon for the government of Solomon Islands to declare one-time public holidays during the course of each year. Commemorative days for special celebrations or national emergencies are the most common reason for a one-time holiday to be declared,” he said.
Galokale stated that “in the context of our weak performing economy, the government needs to examine the economic impact of public holidays on the public sector and other sectors driving the economy before making such decisions.”
The Independent Leader also said that the loss in public revenue collection will be in millions and the costs on the private sector to provide immediate services to the public in terms of employee wage rates will be tripled, not to mention potential losses in other sectors.
“This is just economically wasteful on the country and if we fail to demonstrate seriousness in these issues then I am greatly concerned,” the Leader stated.
“It will be responsible of the government of the day not only to look at the social aspect but to also study the economic impact of public holidays on the various sectors of the economy before making any future decisions on additional one-off public holidays.
“The best scenario will be to impose restrictions on declaring one-off public holidays to national emergencies only,” Galokale concluded.