The Economics Association of Solomon Islands (EASI) joins chorus with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) in calling for an immediate or temporary reduction on electrical tariffs.

EASI supported this call following grievances uttered by the private sector businesses that electricity tariffs have become too expensive and unsustainable for businesses to afford. EASI understands that SICCI, as the peak body representing private sector in the country, in leading up to the call, having held consultations with its members which revealed the cost of electricity is one of the biggest challenges that all SME’s have raised concern towards and would like addressed as a high priority.

EASI appreciates SICCI for submitting a letter to the Board of Solomon Power and the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification last year to address the reality faced by majority of the nation including businesses being unable to afford high electricity tariff, contributing to a further demise in the quality of life.

“Electricity plays a vital role for businesses because it necessitates production of goods and services. Hence, the sanctioned rise in tariffs placed by Solomon Power is deemed to be disruptive to business operations, constrain resource allocation which results in increasing costs of production, and diminishes the businesses’ capability to be viable in a competitive yet challenging business environment,” EASI says in its position statement.

In its statement, EASI further compares the electricity costs with domestic rates.

“Solomon Islands has the highest electricity cost in the world, at a staggering 99 US cents per kilowatt/hour and at least 30 percent higher in tariffs than neighboring Pacific countries.”

“The Association would like to urge Solomon Power to explore reasonable alternatives for an immediate temporary tariffs reprieve for businesses in the interim while necessary studies are being conducted on course for the next tariff review,” the statement continues.

The Economics Association urges the responsible Ministries, the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) to look into the urgency of this matter and the impact it has on the private sector.

“Therefore, EASI strongly recommend for the relevant ministries to avail data for all feasibility studies conducted to fair well all necessary costs that are being implemented.”

Meanwhile, EASI acknowledges Solomon Power’s green initiative to transition into renewable energy through its Solomon Islands Electricity and Renewable Energy Expansion Project (EREEP) and the forthcoming Tina Hydro project.

“To conclude, it is paramount that Solomon Power consider the call by SICCI as a matter of urgency and come up with options for temporary electricity tariff reprieves for businesses.” “We believe that immediate electricity reprieve will enable affordable energy costs for businesses which would lead to increase in business productivity.”

Source: EASI