ON April 16 this year, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a press statement about a Chinese business group expressing its interest to invest in the tourism industry and facelift the city.
This was after directors of Skyline Business Council briefly met with Prime Minister Sogavare in Honiara.
During the brief meeting, Group Chair Jason Liu Tao gave Mr Sogavare a brief outline of their investment proposals for Solomon Islands.
He claimed Skyline Business Council is headquartered in Zhejiang, the most industrious region of China, and is expanding its business operation to the Pacific region.
“We are a group of private investors and do not represent the government of China,” Mr Tao said then.
“We have established ourselves in Samoa and we also have business interests in the Fiji Islands,” he added.
In the Solomons, Mr Tao said: “This is the best time to enter Solomon Islands for investment.
“We will rehabilitate the international airport and the road from the airport to the city. “Giving a facelift to the Honiara International Airport which is the gateway into Solomon Islands will flock in more tourists.”
He told Mr Sogavare the country has great investment potential in the tourism sector and with Skyline Business Council’s rich network of business connections internationally, the council’s investments in Solomon Islands will guarantee more job opportunities and an improved economy.
“Solomon Islands is a golden city for investment,” Mr Tao continued. “The Business Council will invest in the golden city to improve the well-being of everyone in the country through the creation of more employment opportunities and re-invigoration of the economy.”
In response, Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledged the high level of interest shown by the Skyline Business Council to invest here. He said his government is looking at bringing in more foreign investors into Solomon Islands in its bid to improve the economy and create more employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders.
Mr Sogavare said one of the strategic measures it will be taking to attract more foreign investment is the introduction of a Special Economic Zone Legislation in the next sitting of Parliament in July.
“The free economic zones to be created as a result of this proposed legislation would carry investment incentives such as tax holidays, duty exemptions and so on,” he said.
“These incentives would be packaged according to each sector or industry.
“This would give the investor the opportunity to select from a regiment of investment packages in line with his/her company’s activities.”