Lilo accuse Australian treasury report on Solomon Islands economic growth.
Minister for Finance and Treasury Gordon Darcy Lilo confirmed these figures on Friday in response to media reports about an Australian Treasury Report on growth non-growth of Solomon Islands economy in the past 20 years. "I think there has been some confusion in the media about the Treasury Report, it is actually only an historical overview and doesn't cover the period over the past three years, when growth has been very high," the minister said in a statement. "
This high rate of growth can be attributed to the determination of the Solomon Islands people to overcome the setbacks of the past as well as the ongoing partnership between the Government, RAMSI, the Solomon Islands people and donors, " Mr Lilo said. He said: "This growth ultimately means an increasing number of jobs and higher tax revenues for the Government to spend on schools, clinics and rural development." The minister said a number of economic and financial reforms implemented by the Government have been critical contributors to this economic growth.
Mr Lilo said, he also stated that Solomon Islands has also implemented more reforms over the last three years then at any time since independence, including: significant reductions in Government corruption; a balanced Government Budget with no new borrowings; increased fairness in the tax system through less exemptions, particularly on logs; a new Foreign Investment Act to encourage more investment; a quicker and more transparent Work and Residency Permit process; a commitment to competition in the telecommunications sector; a National Transport Plan; improved services and cheaper flights in the aviation sector; the reopening of Gold Ridge mine and Solomon Islands Plantation Limited (SIPL); and initiatives to enable property development in rural and urban areas.
Mr Darcy said the Government also committed to undertaking further economic reforms that are essential for ensuring that high rates of growth can be maintained in the future. "Without them we risk slipping back to some times in the past when living standards declined such as during the tensions," he said. These reforms include: A bottom up Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy; support for local business development; implementation of modern and clear business laws; creation of a simpler, fairer tax system; the expansion of financial services to rural areas including through micro finance and a credit guarantee scheme; and comprehensive reform of State Owned Enterprises like electricity and water providers.
Solomon Islands’ finance minister confident that the Government through its commitment to grassroots development and economic reform can ensure a growing number of jobs and a higher standard of living for all our people into the future.