Tuesday 17 January 2017
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) has applauded the National Government for taking forward the submarine internet cable project that is expected to start work next month.
SICCI sees the significance of the cable investment and has welcomed the announcement made earlier this month of a contract with manufacturing giant Huawei to implement the project.
The Cable initiative is long overdue and the sooner the project is implemented the better it will be for the economy. It will unlock many opportunities for the country and bring with it many benefits for the government, the business community and Solomon Islanders.
The Government has promised to appoint a CEO in the SISCC office by early February.
SICCI CEO Dennis Meone says the cable project is important for the growth of the economy.
Among many benefits, the cable will boost the county’s internet speed connection, cheaper internet rates, make it easier for more investment opportunities, and of course meaning potentially more jobs and opportunities for Solomon Islanders when businesses are thriving and expanding their investment frontier.
It will also improve productivity and reduce wastage in time and costs.
“As the representative body of the Private Sector, we give our full support behind the project,” said Meone.
“It is a long overdue project but we applaud SIG in leading and driving this important initiative forward.
“This project will provide a huge leap for internet services in the Solomon Islands, where we are depending more and more on the internet for basic services. The internet is the key means to communications nowadays and can have a better impact on production and efficiency.”
Once completed, the project will connect Honiara to Sydney, Australia via a communications cable laid along the sea bed.
Submarine cables are more suitable to the isolated and third-world country locations, and is known to reduce the cost of communication access and stimulate increased economic growth.
Thursday 15 December 2016
Members of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) were briefed on the ongoing drawdown of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), mid this week.
A delegation comprising of RAMSI the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and Government officials teamed up with SICCI in hosting a business breakfast on Wednesday morning and shared updates on the progress of RAMSI’s drawdown.
The drawdown is expected to conclude by June 2017.
RAMSI Special Coordinator, Quinton Devlin who led the discussions said RAMSI has confidence in the local police force RSIPF to resume full responsibility in maintaining peace and security after RAMSI leaves.
Mr Devlin outlined RAMSI’s final transition phase and highlighted the next steps ahead, noting that RSIPF will continue to access support from Australia through bilateral arrangement.
The briefings are part of a wide-ranging series of community and stakeholder consultations on RAMSI’s drawdown and the Solomon Islands Government’s preparations for RAMSI’s conclusion.
RSIPF Police Commissioner, Frank Prendergast, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police and Correctional Service, Edmond Sikua, and SIG Special Secretary to RAMSI, John Wasi also attended the business breakfast.
The speakers, in particular the Commissioner of Police and the Permanent Secretary, spoke of the confidence they have in the police force adding that the RSIPF is capable of maintaining law and order.
The delegation also highlighted the need for support from the community and stakeholders, and called for support from the private sector in assisting RSIPF carry out its policing role.
Special Secretary to RAMSI, John Wasi emphasized that security and law and order is everyone’s business and responsibility, and urged the business community to continue to work closely and support the police.
The breakfast provides an opportunity for SICCI members to also raise issues of concern to the delegation. The event was well attended by SICCI members who kept a lively interaction with the presenters throughout the program.
Since mid- 2013, RAMSI’s main role has been assisting the RSIPF to strengthen its capacity and further develop it as a modern, effective and self-reliant police force.
The consultations and post-RAMSI arrangements will continue in the coming months both in Honiara and the provinces.
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) welcomes the ongoing consultations and gives its full support to RSIPF.
Friday 9 December 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are working in partnership to deliver a programme aimed at assisting businesses to make the most of their female talents as a smart business strategy.
At a business breakfast hosted on Thursday at Mendana Hotel, over 40 participants from different businesses attend the event and were briefed on the initiative, its aims and objectives and the huge value it has in maximizing business productivity through improved performance of female employees, and likewise reducing the cost to businesses.
Amy Luistra, Program Manager of IFC East Asia Pacific – Gender, did a presentation on the initiative and led the discussions into issues affect women in workplace and highlighted the importance of fostering a supportive workplace for women, and why investing in women is a smart business.
Using the case study example of Soltuna at Noro (where sixty-three per cent of 1,845 workers are females), the study indicated that absenteeism was very high and that there were few women in leadership roles. However, with the empowerment programme and interventions undertaken by both IFC and Soltuna, the impact to date was phenomenal:
· Improved worker –management communication and better understanding amongst supervisors and workers (especially female workers);
· Improved tracking of absenteeism and less absenteeism from female staff;
· Financial literacy training; and
· More women engaged in male dominated trades, such as fork lifter drivers.
“We all acknowledge that women (mothers, sisters and grandmothers) play leading roles in various spectrums, within families, communities and also in work place. But with the right conducive environment in the work place, such as proper mechanisms and process in place, and appropriate resources made available to support women, female workers can thrive hence, contributing to overall business performance.
Absenteeism is a huge cost and recognizing the underlying factors why women in particular don’t turn up to work can assist businesses to strategize and develop intervention to overcome this problem.
At the breakfast it was announced that scholarships will be offered to interested women in leadership roles which will be managed by Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC).
Tuesday 6 December 2016
Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop joined women in Honiara in marking the first ever networking association for women of Solomon Islands.
Pioneering members of the Solomon Islands Professional Women’s Network (SIPNET) –a platform for women to network, establish relationship, support each other and work towards common goals – were honoured by the presence of Hon Bishop and her delegation who joined local women in celebrating the inaugural ceremony.
The network was officially launched by Vice Chair of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Ms Katalaini Ziru, a successful lawyer and business entrepreneur herself.
Ms Ziru highlighted the challenges women in the Solomon Islands faced and that the network provides a space for like-minded individuals to collaborate and pursue common interest for women.
“I believe this network is an important forum for us. I can see this network become a place of consultation – where women share their stories and look to each other for mentoring, for guidance in how to further themselves in their professions,” said Ms Ziru who inspired the audience with her success story.
“But also a network that will promote our professional and personal development; where we can build our confidence, skills and connections as we climb the ladder even further; where we can gain new ideas and tools for tackling opportunities and challenges in the workplace.”
The network the first of its kind in the Solomon Islands was made possible by the joint efforts of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) with support from the Australian Government.
Hon Bishop met with over 50 women from various working sectors at the Coral Sea Casino & Resort, and used the opportunity to network with the participants.
“One of our main priorities in the aid program is gender equality and gender empowerment” said Hon Bishop when addressing the event.
“First we encourage women to take leadership roles in their families, in their communities, in civil societies, in government, in business and industry.
“This network is precisely the kind of initiative that we look to support in our aid program.”
She said she wants to see more women take on leadership roles in the Solomon Islands, but also acknowledged the cultural and social barriers.
“The Chamber is pleased to be a part of this important development for our professional women,” said SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.
“[Tuesday]’s launch marks a milestone achievement for women in the Solomon Islands and SICCI will continue its commitment to drive this initiative forward in coordination with the IFC and support from the Australian Government.
“We hope and encourage more women to join this network.”
The network will work with the private sector to promote the business case for investing in gender equality and to develop practical tools to improve recruitment, retention, and promotion of women employees.