He uttered these words during the historical commissioning of the X-ray scanner machine at the port area in Honiara yesterday.
“Our intention to bring this machine at the request of the government is to help us in our ongoing work to target and confront smuggling of contraband items, false declaration of cargo and shadow economic activities in Solomon Islands,” he explained.
Kotelawala further stated that containerised cargo movement is the lifeblood of legitimate business and shipping industry.
“It also feeds the supply chain to the shadow economy including illicit tobacco, sub-standard alcohol, drug trades and other contraband goods,” he added.
He further highlighted that as the country’s trade volume continues to grow every year, the key objectives should be to target and confront shadow economic activities, fuel fraud, tobacco and drug smuggling.
“While at the same time facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade,” Kotelawala said.
It’s understood that the new X-ray scanner machine was fully funded by SIPA and it is one of the most powerful and sophisticated mobile container scanner models currently available on the market.
It was built by Nutech Company Limited China in their Beijing factory.
Kotelawala went on to further respond to the rumours around the capital saying that SIPA purchase a ‘Rubbish Machine’.
“If this is a rubbish machine it is an irony why it is used by some of the advanced ports in countries like Australia and other pacific island nation like Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
“This new X-ray machine deployed in the Port of Honiara is expected to remain in service until at least 2030,” Kotelawala said.
By ANDREW FANASIA