Monday, 14 April 2008 2:31 PM

SICCI Concerned with Lack of Consultation in Mines and Minerals Act Amendment

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) is extremely concerned by the enacting in Parliament of the Mines and Minerals Act Amendment on Wednesday 9th April. The Amendment was drafted with absolutely no consultation with private sector organizations or mining sector firms.

The legislation has wide ranging implications that will affect the mining sector and the economy as a whole. The CNURA Government in its Policy Statements document clearly affirmed that transparency and accountability are principles central to the Government. Furthermore, the Government declared that it would "shift resources towards private sector driven economic growth."

The SICCI fails to see how making decisions behind closed doors can be considered transparent and questions whether Provincial Governments and land owner groups were consulted on the Amendment.

To foster private sector driven growth the Government must include the private sector in the process of drafting new legislation. The Government will always have the ultimate power in decision making but should make use of the wealth of experience and expertise that we have within the membership of the SICCI. The Chamber sees its role as one of positive advocacy and will continue to offer its hand in partnership with the Government.

As a first step the Government should have held consultations to examine the current Mines and Minerals Act, even before drafting any new legislation. Legislating without any public debate is a dangerous practice. It erodes public confidence and in this case will erode investor confidence also.

The Chamber will critically assess the new legislation in due course and submit its findings to the Government.