SOLOMON Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) yesterday announced making a $41 million profit in the last eight months under the leadership of Singaporean Colin Yow.
At the same time, the authority paid out $10 million in dividends for the first time to the government.
This turn-around of SIPA’s financial position sounds almost like a miracle.
But this is what can be done to state-owned enterprises when you have the right management that is not afraid to implement painful and controversial changes.
SIPA, unlike other state-owned enterprises, is in a much better position of becoming a profit-making organisation.
As the nation’s international trade facilitator, it is well-placed to earn millions of dollars a day from the many activities that goes on within its ambit.
The only question we should be asking is why didn’t SIPA made similar profits in the past years of its operation.
Is it because of the lack of leadership and poor management or was it something else?
For SIPA to make a $41 million profit within eight months sounds unbelievable, but it also demonstrates that with the right leadership in place, anything is possible.
And Mr Yow has proven that.
His recruitment as SIPA’s chief executive officer attracted a lot of public criticisms due to the big salary he’s been paid.
Then the reforms.
Some of the changes he introduced were highly controversial and painful. In the process a number of staff lost their jobs.
He was criticised and branded with different labels.
But Mr Yow is someone with a mission – to turn the financial situation of SIPA around and make it a profitable organisation that can pay dividends to its shareholders.
To achieve that within an eight-month period is truly amazing.
As a country, we can learn a number of lessons from Mr Yow’s achievement.
Change that is genuinely thought out and implemented with the right intention can bring wonders to business organisations and the nation.
In order to make SIPA profitable, Mr Yow undertook a number of cost-cutting measures that achieve much for the organisation.
SIPA was able to save millions of dollars as a result of these cost cutting measures.
Despites threats and pressure from staff and others who cannot accept the changes, Mr Yow kept going.
He was determined to see changes happening for the good of SIPA.
The $41 million profit made in the eight-month period spoke volume of what can be achieved with a leadership that is determined to see success.
There is nothing more critics of Mr Yow’s leadership and management can say.
All we can say is that SIPA is now finally in good hands.
Congratulations Mr Yow, your management, and board.