The Office of the Prime Minister has refuted media reports carried in the Island Sun newspaper that seeks to portray a calculated government move to privatise the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA).
The Office of the Prime Minister states the decision to temporarily move Solomon Islands Port Authority’s (SIPA) portfolio from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development to the Prime Minister’s Office is to enable the newly-established Commission of Enquiry (COI) into SIPA Reform Program, to commence their investigations into the affairs of the state-owned enterprise.
The news report in that paper yesterday was misleading, and only attempt to sensationalise a temporary but significant bureaucratic arrangement that aims to ensure the investigations by the COI are undertaken, as much as possible, under a fairly independent environment.
The COI into SIPA Reform Program office has commenced its mandated task as of yesterday, on investigating the consequences of SIPA Reform Program under former Chief Executive Officer, Collin Yow.
The Office of the COI into SIPA Reform Program is mandated with 55-working day period to complete its investigation and submit a report of its findings into the consequences and impacts of the reform program.
The appointment of the members of the Commission of Inquiry has been completed, and they are officially engaged as of yesterday, to carry out their mandated task as stipulated under the Terms of Reference of the Commission of Inquiry established under the Commission of Inquiry Act.
To imply that the Prime Minister’s Office is moving to privatise the operations of SIPA in the future is mere speculation, as anything to do with the future of SIPA will have to wait the findings of the COI Report.
“Let us be clear; the day-to-day running of SIPA comes under the SIPA Board, not a Government ministry, including the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.”
Additionally, the documentation for SIPA to come under the Prime Minister’s Office is still not finalized, and to imply that SIPA in now legally under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s office is erroneous.
The Government reiterates the appointment of the members of the COI into SIPA Reform Program are drawn sector-wide to reflect the Government’s intention to see that SIPA continues to benefit Solomon Islanders and support a vibrant economy now and in the future.