‘Gov’t goes hard on illegal business operators’
By ANDREW FANASIA
THERE’S a possibility of an organised crime within the Bangladeshi economic penetration of criminal enterprises in the country which is increasing within the span of three years.
This was a serious concern for the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration (MCILI) William Marau for making a bold step to announce that his Ministry will take action on illegal foreign operators.
Responding to the question if his Ministry is aware of any suspicious organised crime or cartel, which might contribute to the fast influx of Bangladeshis in Honiara, Minister Marau said this is something his Ministry needs to investigate.
“As part of our newly established joint committee which make up of all the relevant stakeholders we will investigate this matter seriously.
“One of the joint committee’s responsibilities now is to investigate and find out what is the cause for the increasing number of Bangladeshis operating retail shops, probably it is because some organised crime behind such increase,” Mr Marau said when answering the question during the press conference, Monday.
He added that within the joint committee, they have included the police and so this part of the responsibility will be handled by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) investigation division.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary Riley Mesepitu for the ministry confirmed a total of 22 notices of closure were already issued to these particular foreigners for running retail shops illegally in and around the Honiara City.
“Twelve (12) notices were issued last year and 10 this year and the ministry will continue to make sure that these illegal retailers stop from operating the businesses,” Mr Mesepitu said.
Mr Marau affirmed that this clampdown on foreign retail operators or business operators is not only for the Bangladesh only but for all foreign investors who have been operating outside the laws of this country.
MCILI Registrar of Foreign Investment Derick Aihari however said this will be a big challenge in terms of revenue collections for the government.
But the real question from the critics and public is, how these foreigners came into the country and easily operated such businesses.
A critic told the Solomon Star yesterday that some officers have been alleged to be facilitating these illegal entries, permits, and operation.
“So are we saying that if there is an organised crime involved in this whole issue then, our government officers are part of the organised crime, something the ministry needs to address it seriously,” the critic said on Monday.