When PS Fa’abasua was in office, MARA executives did not have any issue with the administration over who should issue business licences for businesses wanting to operate in Auki.
That was not the case recently, as confusion now arises after the MPG administration acted alone and issued business licenses without the knowledge of the MPG executive.
This has resulted in the MPG executive issuing stop notices to dispute the business that purchased their licences from the provincial government’s administration.
Two shops which were awarded business licenses; IP shop and LG store were ordered to close Friday last week; the action did not go down well with those that issued the business licences.
When Solomon Star Auki consulted the provincial Treasury office to comment on the issue, a spokesperson said shops that were recently granted business licences to operate in Auki have satisfied all requirements.
He said when the applicant met all requirements, the process was satisfied and business licences were issued.
This is a normal process, the provincial treasury officer said.
Asked about the action taken by the executive to close the shops that were recently awarded business licenses, he said it is unfair when that business already paid for their business licenses.
Not only that, the spokesperson said to call an executive meeting just to decide on one or two business licenses is too expensive.
He explains that to call an executive meeting to decide on a business licence which is only $20,000 is costly as one executive meeting could cost up to $60,000.
The Malaita Provincial Security who auctioned the stop notice issued by the MPG executive even got himself caught up in the middle of the confusion.
Information obtained stated Provincial Securities who actioned the stop notice issued by the executive will be dealt with by the Deputy PS for their role in carrying out the order.
Information sighted by this paper indicated there were inconsistencies in some of the applications submitted by newly operated businesses that were issued business licenses.
For instance, the IP's application letter is for a new business license and not for renewal, however, it was indicated in the approval letter that it was for renewal business licence.
According to the Malaita Province Business License Ordinance 2015, those recently issued business licenses were illegal as they were not sanctioned or approved by the executive as clearly stated in the following sections; 4,5,6,and 7.
Malaita Province Business License Ordinance 2015 has clearly stated that even the Deputy PS, Deputy Treasurer or any officers within the provincial administration has no authority to approve any business licenses whether it be new or renewal for that matter.
This paper understands that in 2019 when section 10 was invoked, the MARA executive decided that PS Fa’abasua who is currently on suspension could approve business licences on behalf of the executive.
The authority given to PS Fa’abasua comes with conditions that; it will not be transferable to anyone apart from PS Fa’abasua and limited to local business only.
This means that in cases where local business is connected to a foreigner, it will always require an executive approval.
According to information gathered, some of those businesses that were awarded business licenses lately were registered under locals, but connected to foreigners.
When this paper asked Acting Provincial Premier, Nelson Lenty to comment on the issue yesterday he said those new business licenses were issued without the knowledge of the MARA executive.
He said an executive meeting is coming up in July where he said those business license applications should be delayed for the meeting.
With that, he said the right thing that the shops should do now is to voluntarily close and wait patiently for the next executive meeting to decide on their business licenses.
By WILSON SAENI
Auki news Bureau