Cost of electricity
Member of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga Matthew Wale has raised concern over the hiking electricity cost in the country referring to as the highest in the region. Speaking before the house yesterday Wale stated that Solomon Islands Electric Authority (SIEA) shows no interest at all to reduce the rate of electricity in the country despite drop in fuel price across the region.
Wale urges the government to look seriously into this matter and must address it sensitively as citizens of this country were denied affordability in declining fuel price, which will definitely reduce the cost of SIEA fuel consumption.
He stated that this continuous denial of declining fuel prices by the SIEA is a daylight robbery for the people of Solomon Islands, who deserve to pay lower rate for electricity charges but were not given the advantage to enjoy the drop in fuel price like other countries.
Environment is the main component of human survival on earth. It provides us all the resources we need to build the economy but also associated with hazardous threats that go beyond human ability to control.
Mr Wale stated that natural hazards threatening and destroying our environment should alert the government to allocate funds separately within the budget for environmental purposes. “People vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise are not able to adapt to these changing climate,” he said. Therefore government must support in disaster respond efforts to ensure that our people are not victims of the changing weather pattern brought about by climate change.
Wale further stated that fund allocation for environment disasters will help our government to respond in emergency call consistently, and more to that is the equipping of our people to know how to adapt and mitigate climate change.
Work of the police was revealed during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting was poorly facilitated to help implement their job more professionally and efficiently.
The Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services (MPNSCS) has admitted before the PAC members that poor responses to crime scene and delay of attending to police matters were blame for lack of vehicles, outboard motors, fuel and other costs to run their job.
Mr Wale stated that government must not forget to empower the work of the police force by providing them enough vehicles and other form of transport to execute their job more effectively.
He said that the sense of security for all citizens must be prioritize so that our people live and work in a safe environment with confidence to improve the living and building the economy of Solomon Islands.
Agriculture is one of the important areas for the government to invest more on.
Unfortunately only 30% of the Ministry’s bid was funded in the $4.18 Billion budget as revealed by the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MAL) during their PAC budget hearing at the National Parliament.
Speaking in the before the chamber of Parliament yesterday, Mathew Wale told the MPs in the budget debate that government will only do well if they revisit those unfunded projects of MAL.
Wale stated that building good infrastructure for agricultural activities must be taken on board in order to be more productive in the agriculture sector.
He further stated that rural projects for development purposes must include agricultural activities and we must ensure that MAL has the biggest role in leading the way for agriculture development in the country.
He continued by saying that more investment in the agriculture sector will help to reduce the increasing costs of living in the country as our food supplies rested more on agriculture, which would be more better to improve productivity of our agricultural products on a sustainable level in a considerable length of time.
Fisheries is one of the most important aspect of development in any country in the region considering the huge sea areas bounded under sovereignty of pacific islands countries.
These huge sea areas is rich with food and mineral resources therefore any country of the pacific always prioritized development of their fishery sectors knowing that huge benefits came from fisheries at the local level, national and international level.
Wale told the Parliament that fisheries are the source of our food security back dated to our ancestral ages up until today.
He said that there is a huge potential in fisheries that the government needs to unlock to expose foreign earnings from the country’s rich marine resources.
Wale further stated that this is the time that government must realize that our fisheries stock is slowly declining to a stage that we will not be able to have access to seafood if we do not take tough measures on foreign fishing activities in our waters.
The MP for Aoke/Langalanga added that government must stop these foreign fishing vessels to fish within 12 nautical miles of our shores so that reserves for our communities could left for them to utilize.
He said the country must make use of its membership in the Party to Nauru Agreement (PNA) so that it better use and manage its marine resources for maximum benefits, on a sustainable level of harvest.
Tourism has the great potential for growth which will change the economic status of Solomon Islands.
Unfortunately tourism does not employ more people as we expected in comparison with other neighbouring pacific countries.
Mr Wale stated that due to low funding in the budget for tourism development the country is uncertain about the future of the tourism industry.
He stressed that Solomon Islands need to create critical mass by engaging big players in the tourism industry so that more economic opportunities could easily follows that will spill more benefits to the country.
“We have to change the face of Solomon Island to be a tourist destination by creating more adventures that will pull their interest and raise the statistics of tourists visit in the country.
“Building of five star hotels are positive signs that leads up to attract more big players to invest in our tourism industry, which would certainly lead us on the right trend as far as tourism development is concerned.”
The aviation sector in the country has reflected poorly in their descriptive roles to shed some hopes on the development of our infrastructures.
Matthew Wale stated that if the country wants to improve tourism its must first improve aviation.
Wale further stated that in the past and the presents it surface that senior officials in the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) were allegedly involved in corruptions, abusing their job to earn money earmarked for development of aviation infrastructures.
He continue by saying that the government must look seriously into these allegations and take serious actions to discipline staff involved in dirty dealings in the government office.
Wale also mention the need for the Ministry to look at improving the airports infrastructures around the country saying that airline standards must be complied with before air service could be allowed for our newly constructed airports.
He mentioned Mana’oba and Lomlom airports as the two airports that will bring about big economic changes to the lives of the people in those areas, but lack of compliance with the international standards for airline services halted any flight scheduled to those two airports.
Solomon Islands’ economy is survived on logging activities up until today and it is no doubt that forestry sector should have leap from their standard of economic activities to another level.
This was revealed in the parliament that despite decades of logging activities in the country, still Solomon Islands exported raw logs overseas which is something that has to stop, considering the long period of time we have been involved in raw log export.
The challenges surface in the parliament is for the country’s logging industry to involve in value added activities so that additional income could be scooped from this long time logging activities.
“We have reached the critical mass of this logging industry so we have to enhance processing so that more economic benefits could be reaped from this sector.”