Gov’t urged to drop US$100b loan offer - Solomon Star News

Gov’t urged to drop US$100b loan offer

07 March 2020

DSE calls on the government to drop the proposed US$100 billion loan

DEVELOPMENT Services Exchange (DSE) and its civil society organisation (CSO) members are calling on the government to drop immediately its consideration of the proposed US$100 billion loan from Beijing-based financier Terry Wong.

DSE reiterates the call by many citizens including Transparency SI and other CSO groups for the government to stop pursuing this proposal. 

“The proposed loan represents almost 80 times the gross domestic product of Solomon Islands and will sink the country into enormous debt,” a statement DSE issued yesterday said. 

“The government has said that this offer is currently just a proposal. 

“However, Finance Minister Harry Kuma has shown strong interest and has accepted the proposed 11% brokerage fee of Wong in principle according to correspondence cited by DSE between the two parties,” the statement added. 

CSOs gathered at the DSE annual general meeting last week and again at the DSE information session held yesterday, demanding that the government be transparent about its decision-making when it comes to issues of national interest.  

Stephen Suti of National Resource Development Foundation (NRDF), a NGO in Western Province said the members are so concern that the proposed loan deal is so suspicious in nature.

“We voiced our discontent that so far the deal is being conducted in secrecy,” Suti said.

“It has not even been tabled in Cabinet nor the responsible authority such as the Central Bank of Solomon Islands are consulted,” he added.

“This is an essential process in an open democracy.

“Government must be more responsible. 

“Irresponsible decision making which will have huge impacts on the people of Solomon Islands needs to be made with transparency and through wide consultation.”

DSE General Secretary Jennifer Wate says this is a proposal that the future generations of Solomon Islands will have to pay back in one way or another. 

“We ask that the government consider the long-lasting impacts of this decision,” Wate said.

“CSOs represent the interests of communities across the Solomon Islands,” she added.

“They fear a situation similar to the switch from diplomatic relations with Taiwan to China which was made without consideration of the views of the citizens across the country.

“We call on the DCGA Government to consider the ramifications of accepting this money and to think of the vulnerable people of Solomon Islands who will certainly be adversely affected by the proposed loan.”

DSE is the national coordinating body for CSOs in Solomon Islands.