26 August 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) applauds the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) for setting up a tariff review committee – the first of its kind to include and engage the private sector community.
The committee will consist of members from SIPA, a representative from the private sector through SICCI and an official from the Economic Reform Unit (ERU) in the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
It is envisaged that the Committee will review the current ports tariff and will make recommendations to the SIPA Board for possible changes to be made and implemented as of 1 October 2016.
SICCI will be represented by board member Mr Andrew Kerr, General Manager of the Guadalcanal Plains Oil Palm Limited (GPPOL).
Mr Kerr says he looks forward to work with the committee members and to bring private sector perspectives to help inform the committee.
In a press statement today SICCI’s CEO, Mr Dennis Meone commended the State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) commitment to include the private sector in the review.
“We welcome the opportunity to be consulted and be part of the review. This initiative shows willingness of the government and the SIPA board and management to liaise with the broader business community,” says Mr Meone.
SICCI’s Chairman Mr Jay Bartlett also shares the same sentiments expressing gratitude to SIPA and the government for engaging with the private sector.
“Our participation is important as it will help inform the committee on private sector perspective,” says Mr Bartlett.
“Our stance has always been to ensure that any tariff changes has to be fair to importers and exporters in that it is actually encouraging businesses to grow than inhibiting growth.
“The current ports tariff is the highest in the region and directly affects businesses, especially importers and exporters as they have to pay more on top of what should be the normal price, let along the need for improvement of operations at the ports.”
The tariffs at the ports was increased twice within twelve months.
When put into context, the macroeconomic implications of the price increase was detrimental to the economic opportunities and activities from happening.
Many major project and infrastructure plans were put on hold, limiting the opportunities for jobs to be created, goods and services to be timely distributed and restricting further revenue collection for the government.
“As a country we have missed opportunities to generate more economic activities for the growth,” says Bartlett.
The Committee is expecting its first meeting at the start of September.
23 August 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) welcomes the removal of the Port Congestion Fees (PCF) by NYK Bulk & Project Carriers Limited.
SICCI’s CEO Dennis Meone says the announcement is welcoming news to members and the wider business community as it shows confidence is returning to the national Ports operation - a key piece of infrastructure to the economy.
The PCF was introduced by shipping Line (carriers) to cover for costs incurred while waiting for berthing space at the port during recent periods of low productivity at Honiara Port in offloading and loading of containers, has had a negative impact on business.
However, recent improvements at Honiara port means that it is no longer necessary to apply the surcharge and NYK one of the shipping liners have taken the first step to remove their port congestion surcharge effective 24 August 2016.
The removal of the surcharge is a positive step in ensuring the business environment is conducive and encouraging for businesses to grow, invest and create more jobs in the local economy, states SICCI’s Chairman Jay Bartlett.
SICCI also calls on other shipping liners to follow the good example set by NYK in removing the congestion surcharge. Mr. Jay Bartlett says “the removal of surcharges by certain shipping lines we are seeing now is a reflection of the general improvement in productivity and efficiency compared to earlier in the year”. This improvement is a testament to the combined efforts by the Solomon Islands Government, SIPA Board, Management & Staff together with the recent opening of the new international wharf funded by JICA, stated Mr. Bartlett.
SICCI Chairman further welcomed the news saying that businesses thrive on a stable environment that is predictable, where businesses can forecast and make informed decisions for their businesses.
The removal of the surcharge is especially welcoming as businesses have certainty and can plan ahead knowing that no additional costs that will affect their operations. The business community looks forward to further reviews of SIPA Tariffs including the Gazette of SIEA Tariffs to further reduce high costs experienced by business and to see continued improvement in the Solomon Islands business landscape.
23 August 2016
The Credit & Data Bureau Limited strengthens its position with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) after sponsoring their first SICCI Business After 5 (BA5) event.
Credit Bureau is one of SICCI’s newest member having joined the private sector’s peak representative body in April this year.
Dozens of SICCI members attended the networking event held at the King Solomon Hotel’s Bamboo Bar on Monday. The networking event allows members to meet, mingle, share information and better understand what other businesses are doing including exploring potential opportunities. The event also provides Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) members of SICCI to promote and inform other members about the services they offer.
The Credit and Data Bureau is a Papua New Guinean company established by a number of leading financial institutions and associated groups in 2008.
The bureau supplies its members with information that allows members to make informed credit and business decisions.
Credit Bureau’s principal business is the operation of a credit database where members can access the credit history and identify details of their customers, a platform that can help lending institutions reduce the risks of falling into an unpaid debt.
Currently the bureau has over 260,000 active consumer records worldwide with a record of K166 million (SBD$408.7 million) in debt recoveries
Credit & Data Bureau Managing Director, Bruce Mackinlay made a brief presentation on the occasion and talked about their establishment and the bureau’s services in the country.
He said the data company is closing the information gap between lenders and borrowers.
The bureau has some 7,000 consumer records from foundation members of the Solomon Islands branch. The bureau was formally established in Honiara on February 2015 with founding member institutions Bank South Pacific, ANZ, (then-transiting) Westpac, Credit Corporation and the Central Bank.
The Managing Director said founding members have recovered over $3 million since joining the Credit & Data Bureau at 600 credit checks per month.
The BA5 also gave the opportunity for presentations from SICCI member Pasifiki Services Ltd represented by Human Resource Manager, Sharon Naesol and Martyn Dominy from the National Government’s Ministry of Communications and Aviation.
25 May 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) is delighted to welcome the interim CEO of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA), Mr. Michael Wate. The appointment of Mr Wate is timely given the operations of SIPA directly affect many of SICCI’s member businesses.
In a brief meeting held yesterday, the Chairman of SICCI Mr. Jay Bartlett congratulated Mr. Wate on his appointment noting “Mr. Wate is a highly experienced figure who has strong leadership capability that will enable him to fulfil his duties as interim CEO. I have full confidence and trust in his ability and vision to lead SIPA.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by the newly appointed CEO for SICCI, Mr Dennis Meone, who further reiterated that SICCI continues to support reforms of the Ports and its focus on core activities aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs to businesses. “SIPA plays an integral part in our trade links to the outside world and its core activities and operations are critical to businesses and the Solomon Islands economy” said Mr. Meone.
Mr. Wate reaffirmed SIPA’s commitment to improving operations and efficiency at the ports and willingness to work with SICCI and the business community, saying “as a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) responsible for ports services, SIPA will continue to make efforts to improve the services we offer and create an environment that is conducive to port users”.
Meanwhile it is important to note SIPA is still a member of SICCI. Recent media speculation that SIPA withdrew its membership from SICCI is baseless and untrue.
SICCI is an organisation of members with similar interests and is the peak representative body for the private sector business community. SICCI looks forward to working closely with the interim CEO, SIPA's Board and management to strongly support efforts to improve the efficiency of all ports in the Solomon Islands.