Thursday 2 February 2017
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) is delighted to welcome the new CEO for Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) Eranda Kotelawala.
The Chamber joins other stakeholders in welcoming Mr Kotelawala noting that his appointment is timely and with his leadership SIPA will continue to grow building on the positive changes that have been made to date at ports, including continuing to concentrate on performing its core activities, and improving efficiency within the Ports.
SICCI also applauds the outgoing CEO, Mike Wate for his leadership in bringing stability, re-establishing trust and relationship amongst businesses and providing strategic direction in what was a difficult time for SIPA.
SICCI wishes to thank Mr Wate for his commitment and contribution in leading SIPA and exceedingly managed to normalise the situation of SIPA over the past nine months.
Wate was instrumental in rebuilding relationship with many stakeholders especially ports users, the business community and for improving business confidence in SIPA.
“The job done by the interim CEO Mike Wate to put the Ports operation back to its feet is something that deserves high acknowledgement,” says SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.
“His fine work at SIPA has set a smooth transition for Eranda Kotelawala. We look forward to the leadership of Mr Kotelawala.”
In late 2016, SICCI members were informed about SIPA’s plans and operations for the first time after the SIPA saga.
SICCI also congratulates the SIPA Board in the new appointment and sees the new leadership as an indication of the SIPA Board’s commitment to continually improve Ports operation and deliver high quality services to ports users.
The SIPA Board this week emphasised that Mr Wate had improved SIPA’s compliance to its statutory obligations, settlement with the labour union and re-engaging with the community and major shipping lines.
SICCI looks forward to working closely with the new CEO, the SIPA Board, and SIPA management, and strongly supports their efforts to improve the efficiency of ports in Solomon Islands.
Thursday 2 Feburary 2017
A group of cocoa farmers have given a positive review of the Cocoa Solar Drier trials that has been dominating quality bean exports over the last three years.
Farmers from five different provinces came together to review the solar drier initiative that was introduced to farmers by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) with the assistance of Rural Development Project (RDP), in the hope to improve the production of cocoa and hitting the higher market.
The simple solar drier ingenuity is an original drying process for cocoa beans without using burning wood. Beans are dried inside a housing construction similarly to a greenhouse – but roofed and walled in plastic and uses just the heat of the sun beating against the plastic sheets.
The innovation started from a project experience three years ago to improve the fire-dried process that results in poor quality smoke-tainted beans often getting lower prices and even rejection.
The solar drier was invented, developed and went on to become a growing success after a series of trail efforts. The solar drier has since been adapted by neighbouring Pacific countries.
Samantha Maeke, Export Industry Development Officer from the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI), considers the introduction of the cocoa solar driers by PHAMA in collaboration with RDP as revolutionary.
Maeke joined the workshop on behalf of SICCI as the representative body of the Private Sector with pledged support for the cocoa industry.
Maeke strongly believes that Solomon Islands cocoa farmers can influence and even dominate the niche or boutique market in the Pacific region if properly equipped with the upscaling of this solar innovation.
“Solomon Islands has the potential to become a high-quality cocoa hub in the South Pacific and eventually make its mark on the global ‘cocoa’ map,” she said.
Mark Johnston, advisor to RDP and the Ministry of Agriculture said there are currently 15 trial driers being used by farmers in the country.
“They [Solar Drier] worked quite well in Guadalcanal, particular the plains is much drier than some of the other areas so we extended the trial to other provinces and put in an extra 12 so there was a total of 15 under the trail,” he said.
“Really what it is designed to do is see how it worked in different environments, over different seasons and also how different farmers like it.”
The driers were tested with farmers in Guadalcanal, Makira, Malaita, Isabel and Western.
The outcomes were overwhelming.
From pleased international recipients to winning international awards in the US and France, farmers are feeling the significance of quality over quantity and they want more.
Last week’s workshop heard the dominantly positive feedbacks of farmers who have been using the Solar Drier but also laid out the challenges and problems farmers face in this strive to boost the cocoa industry.
Among issues faced by farmers is the lack of equipment to maintain the quality drying process.
“The driers have worked well, not withstanding some issues when it’s wet. But I think another thing that we spoke about [at the workshop] was the drying of the cocoa was just one aspect of producing good quality cocoa,” said PHAMA country manager Andrew Piper.
“So there’s all these other elements of it like the fermentation of the cocoa, the storage of it after it’s been dried and fermented and how it’s handled and transported and so on.
“We spoke about a lot of things and ways that farmers can ensure that the good quality that they’ve created is maintained through the supply chain.”
Piper said farmers are now looking at the marketing options they have for their quality beans.
He urged farmers to collaborate more to get good marketing connections, referring to some farmers’ who’ve already established a good relationship in the higher market.
Thursday 26 January 2017
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) joins the Solomon Islands Government and other stakeholders in welcoming the incoming Police Commissioner for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Matthew Varley.
The Chamber gave their acknowledgement to the outgoing Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast while attending the farewell and welcome parade to mark the RSIPF leadership change at the Rove Police Headquarter in Honiara.
“While we look forward to the leadership of Mr. Varley, it is also an ideal time to reflect on the achievements of Frank Prendergast who has done extremely well during his term.
“The growth of the local police force is a visible achievement among many of his accomplishments.”
“On behalf of the Chamber and its members I would like to thank Frank for his leadership over the last two and half years in leading the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in what was a challenging time, especially in the light of RAMSI exit.
“Under Frank’s leadership the RSIPF has grown to become a highly disciplined and capable force with strong emphasis on maintaining peace, law and order,” said SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.
The business community applauds Prendergast’s role in the establishment of Janus – the much loved anticorruption taskforce that has investigated high profile fraud cases since coming into effect – and trusts that the initiative will continue.
“We welcome the incoming Police Commissioner Mathew Varley and we look forward to his leadership in growing the force.”
As the peak body representing the private sector, SICCI fully supports the work of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and looks forward to working closely with the new Police Commissioner and the RSIPF.
The role of RSIPF in maintaining law and order, safe and peaceful environment is important for Solomon Islands growth trajectory as it provides a stable environment for businesses to do business and in attracting investment inflows into the country.
Tuesday 24 January 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) welcomes the appointment of Captain Brett William Gebers as the new CEO for the Solomon Airlines.
SICCI members got the opportunity to meet the new CEO at a BA5 (Business After 5) event co-hosted by Solomon Airlines and SICCI last Friday.
SICCI Chair Jay Bartlett says the Chamber is pleased to see Solomon Airlines, who is a platinum sponsor member of SICCI, get back to its feet with renewed leadership.
“We look forward to the leadership of the new CEO who has an impressive experience in the aviation sector,” said Bartlett.
The Chair was among a number of executives from the private sector who turned up at a fully packed BA5 held at the Solomon Airlines’ Skaelan Aero Club Haus.
Among guests included government officials and media representatives as Gebers made his first public appearance.
Gebers gave a brief outline of what he had in mind for the national carrier but asked for some time to settle down into office before moving into addressing the problems.
He said the carrier needs to step up its visibility and services in neighbouring Australia, with comparisons to other Pacific island countries.
Among other issues he raised was the desperate need to improve the domestic services.
“But before we move on to these issues, we need to sort the many issues the airline faces. I am aware of the issues that were raised in the [news] papers,” he said.
“We will however need your support. We need to work together.”
Brett William Gebers was born in South Africa but is now an Australian citizen residing in Brisbane.
He spent the past 39 years in the Aviation Industry working with the likes of South African Airways, Virgin International, Fiji Airways, Sky Trans and most recently Jet Go.
Gebers’ many attributes include his ability to thrive on challenges.
He has vast experience in all aspects of Airline Operations including:
· Setting up and managing
· Flight Operations
· Ground Operations
· Maintenance Control
· Quality Assurance
· Flight Crew Training
· Cabin Services Training
· Cadet Pilot Programs
He is well versed in:
· The introduction of new Aircraft
· Acquisition, Certification and Management of simulators
· Operations Audits
He possesses a sound knowledge of Aviation Regulations and is experienced in Change Management and Restructuring Business Divisions.