The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) is facilitating the exemption process for companies and businesses providing essential services, to remain operational during a potential lockdown once imposed by the Government.

In the event the Solomon Islands Government declares the country’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the capital City, Honiara will face a lockdown. As a result, all activities will stop for a period of 7-14 days except for essential services.

SICCI, as the peak body representing private sector in Solomon Islands, has developed an exemption application form and a form for vehicle and employee passes.

This was approved by the Prime Minister’s Office last week and is now being made available for businesses and companies who wish to operate through a lockdown.
This followed the meeting between businesses and PMO on Tuesday 31st March 2020.

Business and industry operating in the Emergency Zone can obtain the forms from the Chamber office. They can come from, as well as outside of, the SICCI membership.

In a statement today (Tuesday 14 April 2020), SICCI said all applications for exemption will be forwarded to the COVID-19 Oversight Committee and the Prime Minister’s Office for approval.

“All applications will be considered for exemption passes to business who will need to continue with limited activities to avoid emergency breakdowns in their systems or who will provide essential services such as food, medical supplies and services including automated banking, money transfer services for Honiara residents.

“To qualify for an exemption, a strong case needs to be made including the provision of Standard Operating Procedures appropriate to COVID-19,” the SICCI statement said.

The statement added that the approval is not automatic, and that in their application, business and industry applying for exemption have to consider the development of Standard Operating Procedures relevant to COVID-19 preparation and response.

SICCI also highlighted that it does not receive money or donations for this service and discourages companies from offering it.

On the same note, SICCI reiterates the warning made by Director of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Mr Loti Yates that certain individuals are claiming to represent the NDMO in arranging such exemption, which is false.

“As clarified by Director Yates, demanding money or goods in return for exemption during a lockdown is not only false but is also against the law, and so businesses are reminded not to trust any individual or group that might want to take advantage of this current situation we are faced with,” SICCI said.

Application forms for exemption and vehicle/employees pass can be obtained via email or by calling the SICCI office on 39542.

Source: SICCI Media