SOLOMON Islanders are urged to play a leading role in the monitoring of prices and quality of goods.
Director of the Price Control Unit Timothy Watekary Maehioro made the call while conceding his department has failed to play its monitoring role.
“Solomon Islanders should be the custodians of the Price Control Act by reporting cases they come across in our shops,” Mr Maehioro said.
“We have only two inspectors so it is very difficult for the Price Control division to perform its role effectively as required under the act.
“How can you inspect shops throughout the country with two inspectors?
“Even in Honiara you wouldn’t be able to do anything.
“We need to be fully resourced with staffing and logistics to efficiently carry out our job.
“Otherwise we will have to rely on consumers to come forward with their cases before we can act on their behave,” Mr Maehioro said.
He was responding to the increasing complaints over rising prices of goods and the quality of Asian imported products.
There were complaints that electronic items went faulty just a few weeks after they were purchased.
The absence of a government body to check to the quality of electronic goods imported into the country means shop owners, mostly Asians, are at liberty to import whatever items they wish to bring into the country.
Mr Maehioro said his division was handicapped and lacked the resources needed to monitor prices of goods of check on quality of items.
He added successive governments have given very little attention to his division, much to the detriment of the general public.
“Because of this, I am appealing to the public to assist us by reporting cases they’ve come across in our shops.
“I understand complaints have been increasing from the public so it’s only appropriate that we work together to tackle and address the situation.”
He promised that action will be taken on cases that are reported to them.
At the same time, Mr Maehioro urged the public to choose wisely when doing their shopping.
“Cases of faulty or defective of non-consumable products should be reportedly immediately to us so that the right course of action could be taken,” he said.
Meanwhile, another Price Control Unit officer Edward Bamu said the uncontrollable rise in prices of goods reflects the government’s failure to prioritise the unit.
“We have a serious problem with staff and logistics,” Mr Bamu said.
“What would you expect our division to do when we don’t have enough inspectors to monitor and inspect all retail and wholesale companies in the country?
“We do have problems with logistics and the current Act does not help either.
“We are simply powerless to effectively do our job.”
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA