The Government’s Foreign Policy Advisory Secretariat (FPAS) within the office of the Prime Minister, together with other key line ministries have reached an agreement to address gaps within our existing systems that will boost economic growth.

According to a statement from the FPAS, there are existing systems that created a not-so-level playing field that cater to boost the anticipated economic growth in this country.

“It is sad that these gaps have jeopardized the opportunity of the much-needed growth we envisage in Solomon Islands,” the statement reads.

The FPAS stated, “As was the experience, Solomon Islands has been a victim by flyby investors, rogue businessmen, fundraisers and middlemen that capitalise on our weak system and walked away rich from our very own resources.”

As part of the discussions, stakeholders raised lack of proper coordination as one of the contributing factors toward slow development in the country and why Solomon Islands is losing big time on investment packages that should have contributed towards the progress of this country.

“Hence, the need to establish FPAS is very essential in that SI needs a strategic and timely intervention whilst we still have the upper hand,” the FPAS statement stated.

This understanding was reached during a meeting held recently at the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The core functions of FPAS shall include but not limited to 1) Coordination and implementation 2) Provision of Advisory Roles and 3) Delivery of Policy Assessments.

The FPAS is intended to become the central body for coordination among different stakeholders thereby creating synergies since most development initiatives are cross-sectoral in nature.

The statement reads, “FPAS will be the gateway, that will ensure that investors coming into the country are genuine, and this requires due diligent checks and balances with a strong legislative framework.”

This process will also include development partners, International NGOs and Charity groups coming into Solomon Islands. This will ensure that the development priorities of this country are always at the fore front.

“Foremost, benefit sharing for the resource owners must be addressed accordingly.”

The FPAS statement also stated, “This country needs to organise itself, set its house in order, given the huge resources and opportunities that is endowed upon this nation.”

The need for a coordinating body to ensure existing laws are actively enforced, review or amend to be compatible with the changing global socio-economic dynamics is vital. The Government believes the FPAS will trigger such fundamental reform.

With the spirit of synergy demonstrated by all the key stakeholders during the one-day consultation meeting, an MOU is currently on the drafting to see the realisation of this cabinet sanctioned body.

The Government believes the FPAS is a positive response in relation to the ongoing concerns raised regularly by the public of its newly established relationship with PRC.

As a responsible Government, it is enthusiastic about the opportunities presented through this new relationship whilst being also mindful of the challenges that might lay ahead.

FPAS was established to be a One-Stop-Shop to filter through working along with technical line Ministries in ensuring potential gaps are stringently addressed, either through policies, advisory and technical inputs.

The FPAS will eventually become a central directorate to assist responsible government line ministries and private investors provide services satisfactory to the citizens.

Key stakeholders present at the meeting include the Director of Foreign Investment Division, Director (Acting) Immigration, Registrar of companies Rep, Director of Development Cooperation of the MDPAC, PS for MPNSCS, Assistant Police Commissioner of RSIPF, Director of Financial Intelligence Unit, CBSI, Assistant Secretary, MFAET, and Officials of the PMO.

Further consultations will capture other government ministries, Provincial Governments, Private Sector and CSOs.

Source: OPMC Media