STREAMLINE ECONOMY TEAM, SOLOMON ISLANDS GOVERNMENT URGED

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 25, 2002 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---The Economic Association of the Solomon Islands has called for the government to urgently introduce a streamlined and cohesive economic team.

The new government is handicapping itself through the growth of its economic and financial policy-making set-up, chairperson Donald Kudu said.

This is evident in the maintenance of the three independent ministries, Finance, National Planning and Economic Reform, he said.

Kudu added that having another group of local and expatriate policy advisers in the Prime Minister's office further increased the division in economic and financial policy.

This often delays government's orderly, timely and consistent policy making, as the country tries to recover from the two years of ethnic conflict and closure of key industries, he said.

The association believes that the delays and inconsistencies that have occurred in policy making are a clear demonstration that the government needs a more streamlined and cohesive economic team.

Staff of the ministries of National Planning, Economic Reform and Finance should come under one Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, under a single minister. Kudu said this would help speed-up the taking of measures that are needed to turn the Solomon Islands economy and finances around.

In other developments:

* The government is being advised to stop appointing politicians as chairpersons of government statutory bodies.

Member of Parliament for East Kwaio on Malaita, Alfred Sasako, said MPs are elected into Parliament to govern the nation, and chairing boards is best left to qualified business people.

He said the appointment of politicians is only aimed at gaining numerical strength in Parliament.

* The Honiara Civil Society Network said it is pleased with the government's public announcement of the cancellation of all duty remissions granted under the previous government.

The Civil Society Network stressed that it does not make sense to keep asking donors for money when the country's own local revenues are given away by the government.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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