SIPA defends review
SOLOMON Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) chief executive officer has defended a Singaporean consultancy firm engaged by the authority to review its activities.
Collin Yow spoke out after SIPA workers issued a 28-day strike notice and demanding the termination of consultants International Business Partners (IBP).
Workers also claimed SIPA is paying dearly for the hire of the consultants.
But Mr Yow yesterday retorted:
“The accusations were not only misleading and defamatory, but also damaging and malicious.
“It is normal practice to have consultants working within the government ministries and the state-owned enterprises.
“SIPA is not an exception.”
Mr Yow also clarified that the consultancy firm was not paid for by SIPA.
“They were in fact paid by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of its assistance to reviewing the performances of state-owned enterprises in the country,” he said.
He added the higher number of consultants (10) is subject experts SIPA needs.
He said they were here to provide high level of expertise in engineering, human resources, procurement, security, and transportation.
“They are essential to the transformation at the ports in line with international standards.”
Mr Yow also revealed SIPA has taken a new revenue modeling approach called Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to increase its revenue stream.
“Allegations leveled against us that our consultants were to build commercial complex were simply unbelievable.
“The Ministry of Land, Housing and Survey has granted SIPA areas of land with an understanding that would be developed for commercial purposes.
“Hence SIPA is utilising the PPP model to develop its commercial lands and create new revenue streams by capitalising on opportunities arising from projected ports expansion such as the new international berth.”
He explained the advantage of the PPP model is that it allows for public and private investment.
“This will generate new revenue stream from the rental of the land and would provide more employment during and after the construction.
“SIPA does not have any financial outlay, but retains the equity in the land.
“As owners of the land, SIPA will receive an income during the lease.”
He explained the land will not be sold.
“We are not selling the land. What SIPA is doing is to open it up for investors to develop it, use it to cover for their expenses, but during and after, SIPA continue to own the land and the commercial complexes.”
By CHARLEY PIRINGI