Government policy on the extractive industries continues to be inadequate.
That was according to the Member of Parliament for Aoke Langalanga Mathew Wale.
He said that the longer these inadequacies continue the more resources the country and landowners lose.
“The nonsense of the determined price mechanism how long is the government going to keep this legalised corruption?” Mr Wale questioned.
He added that he was so surprised during the Public Accounts hearing few months ago when the Economic Reform Unit (ERU) confirmed his worst fears that the price is negotiated with the industry.
When asked why the Unit does not use the higher prices published by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI), the response was that the lower prices were more reasonable.
Mr Wale questioned reasonable to whom and for whom? “If there are two price indexes and one is considerably higher than the other one there is a duty of care by the managers of the economy to opt to use the higher price.”
He further said that the government owes this to the people and in this matter the government has consistently advanced, pursued and protected the interests of the industry over and against that of the resource owners of this country.
“Our collective environment is being ruined and it is unreasonable to opt for the higher of two published world price indexes?
“Whose government is this?” Mr Wale questioned.
He added that the same situation will play out with the mining sector if the status quo is maintained.
Over the past four years there has been no legislation before the parliament to remedy any of these inadequacies, he added.
Mr Wale again questioned what is holding these up or perhaps who is holding these up?
“Who benefits from the fact that the country has weak legislations and are these not priorities to the government?” he further questioned.
Mr Wale said with nothing done on these issues more resources are shipped overseas and the country continues to miss out on its fair returns.
“These are non-renewable resources that will not re-grow and the government is happy to maintain the status quo.
“If the responsible ministries are waiting on technical work on major legislative review at least fix the minor inadequacies that make this country so vulnerable to the extractive industries,” Mr Wale said.
It is understood that Solomon Islands has voluntary withdrew from implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in June this year but assured the work of EITI will continue in the country.
By ANDREW FANASIA