Acknowledging the interest shown by New Zealand businesses in what Solomon Islands has to over the past few years, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo invited Kiwis to forge partnerships with Solomon Islanders through investment, commerce and enterprise.
Mr Lilo was speaking to members of the New Zealand Business Council in Auckland last week, when visiting Wellington to inaugurate the new Solomon Islands High Commission in New Zealand.
“New Zealand and Solomon Islands have enjoyed more than 35 years of cordial relations but in the last five years, bilateral relations have reached new heights as New Zealand established itself as one of the leading donor partners,” Mr Lilo said.
Prime Minister Lilo told members of the New Zealand Business Council that in the area of investments; there is a steady increase in investments in the country, as there remains space for expansion.
Although the pace of investment seemed slow, Solomon Islands in the last ten years had worked hard in addressing these issues and creating the space for more investment inflows, he said.
“Solomon Islands are endowed with a significant stock of natural resources in the form of forestry, fish, minerals and natural flora and fauna. Consequently, the economic base has been quite narrow with the focus predominantly on primary production,” Mr Lilo said.
“This also presents opportunities for investment in these sectors,” he added.
“Primary production of natural resources is still predominantly the mode of production but expansion and new technology in the fields of fisheries, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, communication technology, transportation and the services industry can provide the opportunity for a long term investment,” he said.
Commenting on the Prime Ministers Round Table on Sustainable Growth which was convened last year, Mr Lilo said the roundtable had identified challenges within important sectors in the country on the high cost of business, the need for predictable fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, and the need for strong enforcement procedures.
He assured the audience that the Government’s reform agenda was to engage and work closely with development partners to address some of the country’s fundamental problems.
Members of the New Zealand Business Council are proposing to visit Solomon Islands in June this year.