These so called rationalisations under structural adjustment programs pushed by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Monetary Fund (IFM) have not had the effect that was promised.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke/Langalanga and Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Mathew Wale made this profound argument during the debate on the Development Bank of Solomon Islands Bill 2018 last week.
He said over the last twenty years government has heeded overseas advice to cull its activities in the economy beyond contracting.
The advice has been to allow the private sector to take over the provision of commercial services and reduce the role of government to its core business.
Mr Wale said the net result of this advice has led to LDA shut down, CEMA reduced to only regulatory functions, DBSI shut down and the Road and Bridges section of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) shut down.
“Now government is groping in the dark on what it wants to do with livestock in the country. No clear directions thus no resolve.
“CEMA had a significant reach and impact on the rural sector of the economy. It also had positive benefits to communities but these were essentially cut off when the CEMA trading functions were shut down,” Mr Wale argued.
He added that in its place some middlemen have tried to buy and export commodities but the export figures tell the story of this false promise.
Mr Wale said there are significant market gaps that no private sector operator has been able to bridge.
He also argued that private sector civil works on infrastructure in the country costs ten times more and the quality is ten times less than what was achieved by the roads and bridge division of MID in the past.
“Much more money is now made available for infrastructure but the resulting product is consistently substandard.
“In fact the marked growth out of this increased funding to infrastructure has been in the level of corruption associated with it,” Mr Wale said.
He further stressed this is not an argument to say the government must revert to what it was but an argument to say that how it is, is not delivering the outcomes the country desire and the economy needs .
Mr Wale urged the government and the leaders of this country to find some other ways.
Mr Wale strongly stressed that it is important that government is cautious in receiving foreign advice from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
“Let us be cautious about foreign advice on DBSI as well.
“This is our country and these advisors are never when their advice leads to problem in our economy and society,” Mr Wale argued.
By ANDREW FANASIA