SOLOMON ISLANDS GOVERNMENT HYPOCRITICAL: SOGOVARE

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 31, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tuqiri)---The former Minister of Finance of the Solomon Islands, Andrew Sogavare, says a decision by the Government to publish a list of customs duty remissions made during his term is nothing short of hypocrisy.

His comments followed publication by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu of a list of companies and individuals who received customs duty exemptions while Sogovare held the finance portfolio.

Sogavare said it was Ulufa'alu who had compelled him to grant duty remissions to nearly 70 percent of those made to Solomon Islands' companies, organizations and individuals.

It was never his intention to devalue the local currency by 20 percent last December, the fired finance minister said. It was the Prime Minister, on advice from the Central Bank and external financial institutions, who imposed the devaluation, he added.

Sogavare said initially he would have devalued the currency by five percent and gradually increased it, while assessing its progress.

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