The European Union has offered to assist Solomon Islands Government improve its capacity to manage state finances.
EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Leonidas Tezapsidis conveyed the offer to Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare when he paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister this morning.
Mr Tezapsidis congratulated the Prime Minister for his election victory and updated him on the Delegation of the European Union mission in Solomon Islands and the forms of support on offer.
“We would like to help you improve your capacity to manage government finances, in addition to support in other areas such as Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, or Rural Development. We have the experience to help you and regional institutions like the Pacific Islands Forum and Melanesian Spearhead Group in terms of auditing and improvement of legislations for better management of government finances,” Mr Tezapsidis said.
He said Solomon Islands is an important partner of the European Union and the upgrade last August of its diplomatic office in Solomon Islands to a fully-fledged mission (also covering Vanuatu) indicated the significance the EU attaches to reinforcing its relationship with Solomon Islands.
In response, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare thanked the Ambassador for his well wishes and expressed satisfaction over the European Union’s decision to upgrade its office in Solomon Islands into a fully-fledged diplomatic mission.
Mr Sogavare said the move was good in terms of confidence-building following the ethnic crisis.
The Prime Minister informed the EU Ambassador of his Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s policy intentions and plan to call for an economic summit with Solomon Islands development partners after the passage of its first budget to get their views in terms of financial resources.
“There will be policy measures that we would like to sit and discuss with our development partners. Their support would be very important for the accomplishment of our policy intentions, as you know resources would always be an issue for us.
“The major concern amongst Solomon Islands leaders remains the unity of Solomon Islands as nation following the ethnic tension which clearly emphasises the need for development decentralisation.
“Our policy intentions include the revival of the Development Bank of Solomon Islands, redirection of the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands and implementation of outstanding and new national projects earmarked for the provinces which if accomplished will see the decentralisation of development to the provinces.”
The Prime Minister said corruption is another major issue for his DCC Government to address head-on as it has long deprived Solomon Islanders from enjoying the economic benefits from the country’s abundant natural resources.
He said he is planning on setting up a preliminary anti-corruption window from the Prime Minister’s Office to receive corruption complaints against politicians and government officers from members of the public whilst the government works on the anti-corruption legislations proposed by his DCC regime.
– PM’s press secretariat