Monday, 20 October 2008 12:46 PM

RIPEL Needs to Reopen: Lilo

The Acting Minister of Finance, Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo says Government wants to see the re-opening of operations of the multi-million dollar company, Russell Islands Plantations Estate Limited (RIPEL).

In an exclusive interview with SIBC News, Mr Lilo says Solomon Islands has been loosing millions of dollars of foreign revenue since the closure of the company's operations, seven years to date.

RIPEL engages in copra and cocoa production from its vast plantations in the Russell Islands.

Mr Lilo says since world prices for copra oil and cocoa have made a dramatic increase, the country cannot afford to miss the opportunity to earn much needed revenue to boost its economic growth by not doing anything about reviving the operations of RIPEL.

The Acting Finance Minister says the current Government will resort to legal action as the only way out in resolving the long standing issues of dispute which led to the closure of operations.

He says obviously it had become clear that the formation of RIPEL was established at a wrong time.

Mr Lilo says the scheme of arrangement of ownership was done during the pick of the ethnic tension when there was virtually a total break down of law and order in the country.

He says when the situation in the country had become clearer since the return of law and order, we found that the whole scheme of arrangement of ownership of RIPEL was totally wrong.

Mr Lilo says the only way to get it right is to revisit the scheme of ownership arrangement by going to the court of law to sort it out.


SIBC

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