Economy Archive February 2021

With the roll out plan in place, all frontline staff including health workers and those from other government agencies such as police and customs will be the first to be vaccinated followed by the elderlies, 55 years and above and people with underlying sickness such as diabetes, cancer, high blood and the remaining people in Honiara.

Solomon Islands is First Country in the Pacific to Place COVID-19 Order With GAVI

Solomon Islands is the first country in the Pacific to have its COVID-19 vaccine order placed by the Gavi COVAX facility through UNICEF’s supply division.
The accession to the Bunkers Convention was triggered by the grounding of MV Solomon Trader in February 2019, which spilled more than 300 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into Kagava Bay, Rennell Bellona Province.

Accession to “Bunkers Convention” Critical to Pursue Oil Spill Compensation

The Solomon Islands recent accession to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (‘Bunkers Convention’) is critical for pursuing compensation regarding the recent oil spill damages in the country.
UNDP Solomon Islands Project Manager Vardon Hoca.

UNDP and UNODC Bring International Experience to the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption

Challenges faced at the inception phases of independent commissions against corruption and best international practices were at the focus of the webinar held in Honiara on 18 February.
Members of the Solomon Islands alumni of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) and the Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC).

Solomon Islands EPLD/CSC Alumni Meet to Strengthen Group

Solomon Islands alumni of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) and the Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC) have met to strengthen the group.
He says the risk for transmission of the virus in the reactivation stage is very low and the public need not panic. All six of the new reactivation cases are being kept in isolation units and not the central field hospital as alluded to by members of the public.

Dr Rodgers Explains COVID-19 Reactivation Cases in Solomon Islands

Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Rodgers says the country has recorded six additional confirmed cases from the recent Philippines flight. Three of them are Solomon Islands nationals and the other three are overseas residents.
The Home Affairs Ministry is working to connect with the country’s embassies and missions overseas to enhance the implementation of the dual citizenship program.

First 56 Approved for Dual Citizenship

The Citizenship Commission has approved the first fifty-six successful applications for dual citizenship following the commencement of the Dual Citizenship Act 2018.
“It is senseless to have a list of approved applications that are incomplete, especially the amount approved for funding”, he said.

Wale Demands Clarifications on Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) Payments

Opposition Leader, Hon. Matthew Wale reiterates his call on the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Ministry of Finance and Treasury to clarify and explain the current status of the ESP.
Qoloni says his province is looking forward to hosting guests who will be attending the province’s second appointed day.

Choiseul to Mark Provincial Day in Taro

Choiseul province will commemorate its second appointed day on Thursday 25th February 2021.
Project recipients/farmers will collect their day old chicks, stockfeed and equipment from Vuvula Poultry Limited.

MAL Assists 20 Poultry Farmers

A total of 20 poultry farmers has been supported by the Livestock Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) to boost their farm productivity.
On arrival Jason said he turned to volunteer work to keep himself busy, while he searched for a job. He said despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic he was optimistic about getting a full-time job in 2021.

Recruitment Freeze Big Blow to Recent Graduates

The news that the government has enforced a recruitment freeze for most public service positions has come as a big blow to recent graduates.
Some of the specimens collected by BSI officers.

Biosecurity Officers Investigate Alleged Beetle Incursion on Noni

Officers of the Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) are currently investigating an alleged Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes Rhinoceros) attack on Noni plant at Baunasaitonga Noni Farm in East Guadalcanal.
At the heart of any policy redirection is the need to redirect – which means not just a reallocation of funds or prioritizing spending, but a change in approach.

Rebooting the Local Economy Post COVID-19

Vaccine for the COVID-19 is coming, so perhaps now is the time to start talking about the local economy post COVID-19.
The MASI workshop on ‘leadership development’ targets editors, sub-editors, MASI Board members and senior media practitioners.

MASI Successfully Holds Leadership Session for Senior Media Practitioners

The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) recently hosted a three (3) days session for its members.
UNDP Project Manager Mr. Vardon Hoca emphasized UNDP’s commitment to the partnership with Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and other partners, build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, thus contributing in the efforts of Solomon Islands authorities in their fight against corruption.

CSOs and UNDP Raise Public Awareness on Anti-corruption

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) recognizes the role of civil society in combating corruption by calling on governments to increase transparency, improve public access to information and to promote public contributions to the government decision-making process.
He says that such support will enable the company to purchase 75 tonnes of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) at SBD$24, valued at SBD$1.8m, of which SBD$670,000 will be paid directly to coconut farmers.

Gov’t Injects Additional SBD$150k into Coconut Industry

The Government has signed another agreement with Kokonut Pacific for an injection of a total of SBD150,000 under the Economic Stimulus Package initiative.
Bosamata says following the COVID-19 pandemic the SIG scholarship was not implemented on time, hence the reason why the SIG scholarship will only become effective in the second semester.

Government 2021 Scholarships Effective in Semester Two

Government scholarships for 2021 will not be effective until the second semester of 2021.
He says if anyone should have a complaint against any of the staff involved in the implementation of the ESP, they should report this to his committee so that they are dealt with.

Finance Officer Moved Because of Discrepancies in Economic Stimulus Package

The Finance Permanent Secretary has revealed that an officer within his ministry has been moved following reports of discrepancies.
Dr Strahan said the two new boats had been delivered in addition to two aluminum fast boats gifted to the RSIPF in 2020, which boosted operations at the western border, including in relation to COVID-19 preparedness.

Australia Delivers RSIPF a Further two Aluminum Fast Boats

The Australian Government has handed over two more new special purpose aluminum fast boats to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to assist with patrol and response operations at the western border.
"It is very sad to see people sleeping with drips in their hands outside the outpatient in an open space, and others lying on the bare floor with no proper beddings,” Niko said.

Emergency Ward Needs More Attention

“I arrived at 11pm that night and waited for about four hours for someone to attend to me,” a frustrated Niko said.
Better seed systems for the Solomon Islands! PHAMA Plus has partnered with Kastom Gaden Association to help address food and nutrition security concerns in the country by improving seed distribution and support systems for increased agricultural production.

Better Seed System for Solomon Islands

About 2,000 farming households in the Solomon Islands will now access a stronger seed system following a partnership launch between Kastom Garden Association (KGA) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus program (PHAMA Plus).
Sogavare said the aim is to get 40% of the AstraZeneca doses during the 1st quarter of 2021, and the remaining 60% during the second quarter of 2021.

Government Pushes for AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The government is preparing for a nationwide vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
The Lord Howe settlement is said to be one of the highest priority hotspot areas targeted by HURCAP as it is located at the river mouth of the Mataniko river and lies 0.5 metres below the current high-water mark.

Work Underway to Help Communities in Honiara Adapt to Natural Hazards

Honiara is a city at risk of natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and tropical cyclones due to its location. In more recent times, rapid urbanization is stretching the city’s ability to accommodate the increase of rural-urban migrants moving to Honiara.
Maxwell Ham (R) trying to salvage whatever he could from his farm after the damage caused by the recent weather.

Big Loss for Tilapia Farmer as Wild Weather Passes

A local Tilapia farm in Aruligo North West Guadalcanal has lost more than 7,000 tilapias (Mozambique species) when his hatchery pool was inundated by king tides associated with the recent bad weather.
Sir Paul Tovua, as Chairman of the National Peace Council, making a presentation during the Emerging Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue in 2006.

Alumni Mourns Passing of Former Chair

Solomon Islands Alumni members of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) and the Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC) are mourning the passing away of one of its senior members Sir Paul Tovua.
The suspect was arrested on 16 January 2021 and has been placed at the Gizo Police Station Watch House.

17 Year Old Charged With Rape of 13 Year Old Girl

Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at the Gizo Police Station in the Western province have arrested and charged a 17-year-old male suspect for the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at Suanatali Village on Vella la Vella Island between January and December 2020.
Bidding farewell to the Late Paul, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said, “Rest in Peace, Son of Guadalcanal. Rest in peace Giant of Solomon Islands. I salute you. Solomon Islands salute you.”

State Funeral for Late Sir Paul Tovua Finalized

The body of the late Statesman, Sir Paul Joseph Tovua, KCMG, OBE, and CSI, one of the founding fathers of our Nation will be accorded ‘Official Funeral’ on Tuesday 9 February.
Seleso, a first time National MP, took on board with him, working class South Guadalcanal people in Honiara to be a part of his ‘think tank’ committee.

South Guale MP Impresses International Organization for Democracy

The MP for South Guadalcanal will be profiled in a webinar program initiated by the International Republican Institute (IRI).
Whilst on the ground, the Team will also assess the oil leakage from the wreckage of MV Tremax, a sunken vessel at the Lata wharf in 2014.

NDMO Responds to Oil Spill Reports in Temotu Province

The Solomon Islands Government through the National Disaster Management Office, NDMO, has deployed a Multi Sectoral Technical Assessment Team on an oil spill operation in Graciosa Bay in Temotu Province on Friday 05th February 2021.
Seeds confiscated during the operation.

Businesses Comply as they Settle Biosecurity Non-compliance Fines

Six businesses in Honiara has paid their fines of $5000 each to the Biosecurity Solomon Islands of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) for violating the country’s (SI) Biosecurity regulations.
Commissioner Mangau says “The police officer looking after the RSIPF Exhibit Room has been suspended on half pay. But until then, the officer is innocent until proven guilty.”

Police Suspends Officer Over Missing SBD$300,000 One Link Exhibit Money

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Professional Standards Internal Investigation (PSII) is continuing with an investigation into more than $300,000.00 exhibit money that has gone missing from the RSIPF Exhibit Room at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara.
“There are some Chinese shops that are selling seeds that are unauthentic or not genuine as they are not sourced from BSI approved suppliers. Even some were found to be selling vegetable seeds with labels on the seed packets that are different from what is actually inside the packets,” Mr. Tsatsia said.

Farmers Urged to Purchase Seeds from Genuine Suppliers

Local farmers and the general public are told to be mindful when purchasing seeds from shops in Honiara as some were found to be selling unauthentic seeds.
The school principal says that such adjustments are necessary to ensure that mitigation measures are practiced inside the school and becomes the new norm.

COVID-19 Safety Measures Kicks in as Schools Resume

Students in most parts of the Solomon Islands have started classes this week. High in the minds of education authorities is the need to maintain and practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Chief Fisheries Aquaculture Officer Wesley Garofe and John Bakeleng Provincial Fisheries Assistant Officer, for Shortland Islands transferring prepared seaweed lines for planting at the farm site at Maliae.

Support for Livelihood Projects in Shortland Islands in the Western Solomon’s

Remote communities in the Shortland Islands and Malaita Outer Islands, who are highly dependent on fisheries and marine resources, have had their normal trading routes impacted by border closures as a result of COVID-19.
“During our search and interview with shop owners it is evident that they have breach the Biosecurity Act 2013 because they do not possess or displayed any permit to import plants and plant product into Solomon Islands," Samuel Hone of the BSI Compliance & Auditing said.

BSI Warns: Imports & Selling of Seeds Without “Import Permit” is Illegal

Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has cautioned companies and individuals that it is illegal to import seeds and sell it in the country without obtaining an ‘import permit’ from the BSI.
“We are pleased to be standing with Solomon Islands in this challenging time. A significant COVID-19 outbreak in the country would put serious strain on the health system,” said Annette Leith, World Bank Resident Representative, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu.

World Bank Commits US$5m for Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 Response

The World Bank has approved a US$5 million emergency project for Solomon Islands to support the country’s COVID-19 preparedness and response while also strengthening critical health systems. The nation-wide project will provide immediate assistance that is designed to complement activities supported by other development partners.
The suspect has been charged for physical abuse and intimidation and will appear today (1 February 2021) at Auki Magistrates’ Court.

40 Year Old Man Arrested for Striking Wife with Firewood

Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at Auki, Malaita Province have arrested a 40-year-old husband from Aefa’ai Village in North Malaita after striking the forehead of his 30-year-old wife on 13 January 2021.