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Existing arrangement only benefiting skilled workers

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 22, 2009) – Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says he wants to see more unskilled people benefiting under the Solomon Islands Government and Japanese exchange programme.

Dr Sikua said this after learning that for the last 30 years, only skilled people benefitted under the programme.

"Solomon Islands benefited a lot from Japan in fishing, agriculture and mining exploration in Isabel and Choiseul," Dr Sikua said at the Pacific Islands Exhibition 2009 and Viva Pacific Islanders yesterday in Tokyo.

"However, the greatest potential I want to explore is human resources, especially those in the informal sector," he said.

Dr Sikua said he wants youths and farmers to go to Japan and train there.

The exhibition yesterday is part of the buildup towards the fifth Pacific Islands Leaders Summit Meeting (PALM5) today and tomorrow in Hokkaido.

The event aims to strengthen economic ties between Japan and Pacific countries.

It was also to further mutual understanding, though promotion of exports to Japan, and introduction of country information and tourist attraction of these countries.

Solomon Islands products on displayed inside the Jetro exhibition hall were canarium nuts and coffee beans from Variva Holdings Limited in Isabel.

The Solomon Islands small community known as Abalolo took part in the exhibition.

They displayed Solomon Islands products like taiyo, shell money and carvings.

Leader of the Abalolo group, Alistair Legua said they were happy to see the Prime Ministers attending the programme.

"We love to come to our country but situation did not allow us.

"However, the presence of our Prime Minister really made us proud and happy to receive him," Mr. Ligua said.

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