The National Government is finalizing two new business laws aimed at reducing challenges that depressingly affect the country's present business environment.

Final drafts of the proposed Companies Bill and the Insolvent Companies Bill are expected to be completed by next month before being tabled in the next parliament session.

Minister for Commerce Francis Billy Hilly today said the legislations came as crucial proposals under a government established Business Law Reform Project launched in 2006 with a White Paper endorsed by Cabinet for further consultations towards the end of 2007.

During the process, views and comments were sought from key stakeholders including private sector representatives and business associations, government agencies, commercial banks, donor representatives, and professionals in Honiara.

The first Draft of the Bills were then circulated and consulted upon earlier this year.

The Second Draft of the Bills has been circulated to stakeholders and is expected to be finalized by the end of this month.

Earlier consultations with stakeholders around the country showed that;

.The cost of registering a business or starting a company is too high for most Solomon Islanders to afford;
.The process of registering a business or starting a company is very time consuming and involves a lot of unnecessary paper work; and
.The current business laws and regulations are unclear and difficult to understand.

The Business Law Reform project aims to address these concerns by delivering the following:

.A Secured Transaction Bill 2008, which was passed by Parliament in August this year.
.Introduce a new Companies Act (2008)
.Introduce a new Insolvent Companies Act (2008)
.Introduce a new Corporate Trustees Act (2009)
.Establish functional and efficient Companies Registry and Personal Properties and Securities Registry at the Ministry of Commerce to implement these new laws

These laws and associated institutions will ensure business registration process is cheaper and quicker, enabling communities and individuals to easily start formal businesses, and enjoy the benefit of being in the formal sector, including easier access to loans from commercial banks.

Minister Hilly said the Business Law Reform project run by his Ministry is very important for the future of Solomon Islands.

"Better business laws will encourage a strong local business base, which will help more Solomon Islanders to get jobs and earn a good income to support themselves, their families and their communities."

"It is the businesses in our community that create jobs and produce and sell the goods that make our lives easier. We should all be working to make it easier to start new businesses," the Minister explained.

He concluded that better business laws will also mean that the government will be able to collect more tax revenue, meaning more clinics, schools, roads, and other services will reach rural grassroots people.

Main stakeholders, who had been given the 2nd Draft Bills in August 2008, are requested to forward feedback through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Employment by 12th September.

Press Realease (Government Communications Unit)