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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 10) – The Solomon Islands has yet to attract the right kind and quality of investors to develop our natural resources says Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Speaking during the launching of the Grand Coalition for Change Government Policy Translation and Implementation Document yesterday, Mr Sogavare said the kind of investment we continued to attract are the types that described the behavior of foreign investments in the 1960s and 1970s.

"In other words we are 40 years behind in terms of our investment strategy.

"It is no wonder we are not really progressing and are in danger of depleting our resources because we are entertaining an investment strategy that is not only by its very nature, unsustainable but actively transferring the benefits of down stream processing overseas," the prime minister said.

He said the strength of Solomon Islands and the potential for economic growth lies in sustainable development of our natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable.

Therefore, he said development strategies had to be established to ensure the country maximized the gain from the utilization of our resources.

This, he said could be achieved through a process of responsible public investment program that is driven by the concern that these resources are depleting and that we are guided by the principles of sustainable development in our development endeavors.

He added that his government’s village focused development could only be sustainable in the long run if the country had a vibrant private sector actively supporting the public investment program.

"Our focus in that respect is to encourage villagers to eventually become active participants in economic activities that improve their capacity to financially support the government system," he said.

He said the task would not be easy but it is a reality that must be faced.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR archives, the issue of foreign investment strategy was visited in 1998 by the Solomons Government. It was believed that the solution lied in revising foreign investment incentives to make them more appealing to investors.]

August 10, 2006

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