Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gov’t proposes multi-sectoral reforms

Below is a news article from Solomon Star online news. As you can see, the news article holds very interesting reading as it summarises the current government's policy outlook for their tenure in Office.

The Prime Minister's promise of cross-sectoral reforms is encouraging. I assume this also include reforms within the education Sector, which is good.

However, as far as I am concerned, until these promises are put into fruition and are transformed into tangible outputs, anything that is being said will only be regarded as 'political thrash talk'. Because this is not the first time for any new government to make any promises. We have witnessed this practice all too often that it now becomes more or less meaningless and insignificant to the actuality of governance in our polity. . In the case of Solomon Islands to say one thing in the public arena in order to gain public credibility and support is one thing, but to actually deliver on these promises is yet another thing. It is the latter that has always fall short of being fulfilled.

Even if reforms are trully introduced, the next big and difficult question to ponder on is "how sustainable will such reforms be?" This is because the question of sustainability cannot only be fully answered or addressed by the government but also by the people. And in the case like ours where there is disjoint and disconnectedness in the government service delivery mechanisms, sustainability remains the biggest issue.

Thus, legislative reforms and government structural reforms alone cannot be the answer. The solution is deeply enthrenced within the dynamics of our society which must also be addressed simultaneously with any bureaucratic reform exercise.

One of these factors is our high level of illiteracy, which as far as I am concerned is currently being sidelined by the current reform agendas.

I believe that unless this issue is addressed so that people's world view is altered to suit the challenges of the modern world and our system of governance, the issue of sustainability will remain a major problem for our nations development and progress. As we all know, there are no quick fixes.

[Solomon Star News, Friday, 24 September 2010 13:05]  

Prime Minister Danny Philip.[Photo: Solomon Star News]

THE Government is looking at carrying out a number of reforms in the different sectors in the country starting this year.

This is part of sectoral reforms the Government proposes to undertake during its tenure.
The other main reform is on Constitution to give back resources to landowners.
Speaking at a luncheon hosted by Solomon Islands Chambers of Commerce and Industry at Jina's Restaurant Wednesday, Prime Minister Danny Philip said: "As many of you know, many of our sectors remain untapped.

“Take tourism, for example. This is a billion dollar international industry which has the potential to contribute significantly to our national economy.

"And yet over the last three decades, the industry has received nothing more than lip service. We can do better," he said.

The reform will also covers marine.

"Being a maritime nation that we are, marine infrastructure is an important policy consideration. We believe it is an industry that requires investment.

"My government believes that once the mechanics of the fundamental and sectoral reforms are in place, the rest will simply blend in," he said.

Mr Philip added:"You will agree with me that infrastructure constraint limit private sector development. Whether it's road, water supply, fuel depot, hydro scheme, they all come back to the issue of land. This is why the issue of customary land reform is so critical."

He said one of the things embraced in the comprehensive reform package is the employment and work place reform.

"It is pleasing to note that the Chamber of Commerce has been proactive in this area by proposing a tripartite approach involving the Government, Employers and workers union to deal with this important area.

"The cost of doing business in Solomon Islands has been a constant source of complaints for may well meaning investors. I can assure you that this will be dealt with in the Sector reform," he said.

PM Philip said all attempts would be made to ensure labour intensive infrastructure projects are brought forward to cushion the effects of the decline in export receipts.

"I am pleased to announce that a Major Projects Unit would be established within the Office of the Prime Minister to advance project funding, coordinating, implementing and evaluating.

"Reforms in other areas such the Government machinery and the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) will continue," he said.

Mr Philip said: "The objective is to improve service delivery to our people. The notion that Government should seek to divest itself of commercial activities as far as is practicable is a good one and merits investigation.

"Let me quickly turn to other areas. The Government is aware of the need for restraint on recurrent spending. It will do all in its power to ensure that fiscal measures taken are not done at the expense of maintaining the current level of service to our people.

"That is not to say unproductive expenditure should be allowed to continue," he said.

"In trade and investment, an attractive regime would be introduced to ensure maximum return on public investment in this area. This is an extremely important area that my government will prioritise.

"My Government recognises the importance of the need for dynamic exchange with the private sector, a sector often referred to as the engine for economic growth."


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