The increasing numbers of Bangladeshi owned and operated shops in the outskirts of Guadalcanal has raised concerns among rural local business owners.

Bangladeshi owned shops have increased in recent years, with many setting up shop in areas outside of Honiara, many are moving into rural areas on Guadalcanal.

Local shop owners in those areas say it is difficult to compete with these Bangladeshis, as they have priced them out of the market, forcing many to close shop.

Ms Margaret Matai, a young businesswoman from Baravule in the Guadalcanal Plains, says that after ten years of running her little shop she is now faced with the difficult option of closing it down.

"Before the Bangladeshi shops came many families set up small canteens which help them to earn money to support their families. And they are all small canteens so we could all share whatever customer there is in our area.

“So, when they set up these big shops many of us can no longer operate, we cannot compete with them, many have closed their canteens which is sad,” Margaret said.

She says both the national and provincial governments should limit the number of Bangladeshi shops in their area, as it is directly competing with locals who are also trying to run their own small business.

“I think foreigners should not be allowed to operate such a business in rural communities, such small business is the only way locals can engage in and make money.”

She is urging authorities, particularly immigration, customs and labour departments to do spot checks.

“I mean what visa are they using and what about business license, is it registered and who is involved,” Margaret said.