AUSTRALIA-PACIFIC BUSINESS COUNCIL WELCOMES SOLOMONS ECONOMIC REFORM

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 18, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The Australia-Pacific Islands Business Council has welcomed what it calls the positive economic policies that the new Solomon Islands government appears to be adopting.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that the Executive Director of the Council, Frank Yourn, says members are encouraged by the reports they've received on the recent discussions held between Sir Allan Kemakeza's government and the Australian and New Zealand foreign ministers

"The Australia-Pacific Islands Business Council wrote to Alexander Downer before he made his joint visit to Honiara earlier this month with New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff, stressing the importance to the business climate in the Solomons of a return of the rule of law and sound economic policies.

"Frank Yourn says the signs are encouraging and he's particularly pleased that the Kemakeza government is discontinuing tax remissions on beer and cigarettes that the previous government gave to favored importers.

"Mr. Yourn said, ‘The real concern to us has been the effect that it's had on government revenue in the Solomon Islands, which has limited the capacity of the government to deliver services to business and the people. We haven't taken into any consideration the impact it's had on individual businesses. Really, we've taken a national economic view of it.’

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia, Honiara."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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