Friday, 27 September 2013 9:38 AM

Investors Urged to Look to the Solomon Islands

The Australian Pacific Islands Business Council is organizing a forum in Brisbane next month, bringing together business leaders in Australia together with Solomon Islands officials in an effort to show that the country is open for business.

The Councils' Executive Director, Frank Yourn, told Radio Australia that he is keen to build on the “significant business relationship between Australia and Solomon Islands.”

“There has been economic growth in the past few years, and I believe there is now an air of confidence in the business community – shipping services and dedicated air freight services have picked up recently, and that’s good for business.”

Mr. Yourn says that there is certainly alot of work to be done in improving the environment, but he says “it is a friendly environment, and there is certainly alot of potential in the tourism industry, which does have the potential to replace the logging industry.”

“One of the reason why we ran such business conference is because we want to give a balanced view to what people see on TV, really from re-runs of what happened during early 2000,” said Mr. Yourn.

He says in Melanesia, it is important to work closely and manage the relationship with landowners and the community, “the manner in which you manage such relationship will be important.”

Since 2003, economic growth in the Solomon Islands has averaged 6.3% per annum. 2011 saw a record economic growth rate for the Solomon Islands of 10.7%, easing to 7.4% in 2012. Over full-year 2013, average inflation is expected to ease to 4.5% as economic growth slows.

ANZ’s recent economic assessment of the Solomon Islands encourages investors to consider factors such as;

Business environment —The business culture in the Solomon Islands is built around a small business model. Approximately 98% of businesses in the country operate with less than 200 employees.

Recovery phase — The Solomon Islands is in the process building stability and the foundations of economic development. Steady progress continues to be made, but patience will be required.

Tax incentives —To encourage investment in certain sectors, the government is empowered to offer a range of tax concessions to foreign-owned businesses.

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