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.
Thursday 19 January 2017
New Zealand business training providers Learn.fast Pacific is working in collaboration with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) to help small businesses achieve financial sustainability and reduce business stress.
The partnership comes as Learn.fast Pacific joined SICCI as a member in December 2016 that will follow a three-day training next month targeting small to medium size businesses.
Chris Elphick, Learn.fast Pacific director, said joining the Chamber provides a network to reach out to the business community, especially SMEs that are looking at improving productivity and becoming successful entrepreneurs.
“The Chamber is the obvious group to collaborate with where we can offer our training to the members,” said the director.
“Our trainings are very practical,” Elphick explains. “Focusing on what is needed out in the field to grow and be successful”.
Learn.fast Pacific is not new to the local business environment.
Elphick and his team came into the country five years ago through a New Zealand-funded programme.
He had previously worked with SICCI during that time and had provided a number of trainings to businesses.
He said the scope of Learn.fast Pacific is to look for potential people who have what it takes and build them to become successful entrepreneurs. Much of this focus is on small to medium size businesses and businesses in the rural areas.
Learn.fast Pacific has operations across the Pacific and mostly deals with the Chambers in establishing their relationship with the local businesses.
Elphick himself has worked across the Pacific doing training, coaching and mentoring.
“To me, the strength of the small business sector is key to the future survival of Pacific Island countries and what we do is about strengthening the sector through practical action, working closely with chambers of commerce and other business support organisations.”
The planned three-day training will take place in Honiara at the end of February with the theme “Your business in 2017 – being the best you can be”.
The training will include sessions for leading and planning for success and reducing stress in business.
This covers topics effective leadership for SMEs, strategic for operational planning including basic financial management and being prepared for possible challenges including business continuity.
In 2017, SICCI will be looking at facilitating a range of training initiatives geared towards SMEs including a mentoring and coaching program aimed at linking large businesses to SMEs.
Wednesday 18 January 2017
There is a growing threat for the coconut and palm tree industry if the spread of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle intensifies and remains untreated. Already the impacts are visible and felt by farms through the destruction of coconut and palm oil trees in Guadalcanal.
This was raised at the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Committee (CRBC), a committee formed to monitor and control the spread of the beetle.
Samantha Maeke, the Export Industry Development Officer from the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and a member of the CRBC, says there are alarming indications.
Coconut and oil palm are critical resources for the Solomon Islands economy – both commercially and at a subsistence level. Many farmers and families rely on these commodities for employment, income generation and basic survival.
The country could face a national crisis given the severity of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, the committee concluded.
The beetle attack has already affected some farms and plantations with the loss of production and supply of coconut and oil palm.
Evidence in other countries such as Guam and Samoa shows that the beetle has affected coconut plantations. In Hawaii it was declared a pest emergency.
The CRBC fears that the continued rampage of the beetle will affect other fruit crops such as bananas and pineapples.
Already it has affected oil palms at the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL). If untreated, it will have a huge impact on the production of oil palm and the sustainability of the industry.
Putting into perspective the risks are overwhelming, says SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.
“At the micro level – communities would lose their economic ability, food and as well as their way of life. At the macro level, it can result in the entire loss of both the coconut and palm oil industries.
“It is therefore paramount that urgent action has to be undertaken by the government and relevant stakeholders.”
The CRBC meeting indicates that public-private partnership is the best approach to ensure that the beetle pest is properly contained and managed to reduce and lessen the impacts on both industries.
Mr Meone acknowledged the efforts undertaken by the committee in dealing with the issue but highlighted that there is a pressing need for more government support to fast-track the remedial approaches the CRBC has adopted.
Copra and coconut oil exports recorded $95 million in the first three quarters of 2016, according to data from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands; $31 million in the first quarter, $29 million in the second quarter and bulked up to $35 million in the third.
“Agriculture has always been the backbone of the country and if it is to continue to support economic growth and development, we must continue to support the sector to grow, diversify and reach its full potential,” said Meone.
“In this case we must quickly resolve and contain the spread of the beetle which is threatening the entire coconut and oil palm industry.”
The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle was first reported in Honiara in 2012 and has since spread further into Guadalcanal as far west as Visale in Northwest Guadalcanal and recently affecting oil palms at GPPOL in Northeast Guadalcanal.
There are also reports of the beetle reaching provinces Malaita, Isabel, Western and Choiseul.
The biggest challenge facing the CRBC is the lack of resources and funding to carry out assessments and treatments. It is understood that the committee has rally resources from within the committee members.
External assistance is also provided by FAO and SPC.
The CRBC is made up of the Coconut Industry Working Group, SICCI, Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA), GPPOL, Rural Development Program (RDP) and the Biosecurity SI division from the Ministry of Agriculture.
SICCI is a member of the industry working group.