Leader of Opposition applauds the Foreign Investment Division (FID) and the other agencies involved in compliance checks on foreign-owned shops in and around Honiara recently.
Matthew Wale in a statement said it is important that the laws of the country are complied with.
“The only way to ensure that this is the case is that there is a scheme of regular unannounced compliance visits to foreign-owned businesses to ensure compliance.
“The relevant offices tasked with these responsibilities must make compliance reviews and visits as an important part of their work. I congratulate Mrs. Lynette Dawea for this initiative,” he said.
Mr. Wale said the Solomon Islands needs more foreign investment, especially in key sectors of the economy.
“And we need good quality law-abiding investors who will want to grow their businesses with the many opportunities available in Solomon Islands. However, there have been too many instances of foreign investors breaking the law and getting away with it. The Solomon Islands cannot and must become a destination for law-evading foreign investors,” said Mr. Wale.
The Opposition Leader went on to add, that he understands that a few businesses were caught by surprise by the compliance check, and some were found to be conducting business in breach of the law.
“This clearly shows there is a problem in our retail and wholesaling sector which must be addressed. Any investor in this sector found to be acting in breach of our laws must be dealt with accordingly and I encourage the team to enforce the law,” he said.
Mr. Wale added it is important that the Solomon Islands as an investment destination is seen as one where the rule of law is respected by all. This creates a fair playing field for investors and creates predictability for investment planning.
“Strict enforcement of our laws is the best encouragement to quality investors. Such laws cover matters such as taxation, employment rights and obligations, human rights, health, and work safety, product quality, and the protection of our consumers.
“I, therefore, call on the government to assist these government agencies to do the same with foreign-owned businesses operating in the provinces as well. And it is important to extend these compliance checks beyond the retail and wholesale sectors,” the Opposition Leader further adds.