New Zealand High Commission Honiara, Solomon Islands
Solobis June 2013
Welcome to the June 2013 edition of SoloBis, a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the New Zealand High Commission, Honiara. SoloBis outlines economic and business developments in Solomon Islands likely to be of interest to New Zealand companies. It is also published on www.nzembassy.com/solomon-islands. For further information on any of these stories, please contact the New Zealand High Commission, Honiara: firstname.lastname@example.org, placing ‘Solobis’ in the subject line.
The establishment of a new tuna processing facility at Ndoma, 21km west of Honiara, has moved a step closer with the Solomon Islands Government winning its battle to resume the lease for the designated land. Korean fishing giant Dongwan Industries has been in talks with the Government about establishing the venture.
Meanwhile the Korean government has signed up to provide SB $7.2 million in grant aid to Solomon Islands. The funding will be focused on forestry management and reforestation, particularly through training of forestry officers and the bringing into Solomon Islands of Korean forestry experts.
Solomon Islands cocoa exporter C-Corp made the headlines with its first export of cocoa to its new processing facility in Mt Maunganui. C-Corp (NZ) hopes to eventually export 1-2,000 tonnes of cocoa per year from Solomon Islands for processing in New Zealand. Visit http://commoditycorp.com.au
The improved Munda airstrip is close to completion, with civil works set to conclude in early July. The works are the first (and major) step on the way to Munda becoming an international-alternate strip to Henderson in Honiara; Solomon Islands Government-funded fencing, lighting and navigational aids are the next. Once complete Munda will be capable of taking B737 and A320 aircraft, and will offer the potential to open the Western Solomons to further tourism development.
Other elements of the Munda package of works are also proceeding with the refurbished Noro- Munda road almost complete, and work started on sealing Nusatupe (Gizo) airstrip. Nusatupe is closed with Gizo passengers travelling from Munda via fast boat. The package of works is being carried out by Downer (www.downergroup.com), and funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and the Solomon Islands Government.
A National Trade Development Council (NTDC) has been set up to ensure a coordinated approach to seizing opportunities presented by regional trade agreements. The NTDC brings together government, private sector and civil society representatives and is chaired by Foreign and Trade Minister Clay Forau. It is charged with overseeing trade policy development, incorporating trade into national development planning, and ensuring coordination between the different interests and groups involved in cross-border trade.
Stakeholder consultations for a new Customs and Excise Act are under way in Honiara. The legislation is intended to improve ease of business by speeding up customs clearance and clarifying the duties and taxes that importers have to pay. Processes will be harmonised with those of other Pacific countries. The Bill, which was drafted with the support of the ADB and funded through the ADB/AusAID Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) is expected to be passed when Parliament sits in July.
A new air services agreement between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia has opened up the possibility of better air links between the Pacific and South East Asia. The President of the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry, John Leahy, told Radio Australia that discussions were under way to institute flights between Fiji, Honiara, Port Moresby and Bali.
The New Zealand Defence Force will be visible in Solomon Islands from June through to August as it carries out unexploded ordnance removal in the Munda (Western Province) area, and then leads the local component of the multi-nation Pacific Partnership (PP13) humanitarian assistance operation. PP13 will involve engineering personnel in reconstructing old and damaged schools and clinics in remote areas, and will also provide medical training and support at clinics and hospitals. The Pacific Partnership is supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme, and the High Commission in Honiara is actively involved in planning and logistics. HMNZ ships Canterbury, Wellington and Manawanui are taking part in the operations in Solomon Islands.
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Disclaimer: while every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this newsletter is correct, it is drawn from open source reporting and the New Zealand High Commission accepts no liability for its accuracy, nor for any actions or omissions taken on the basis of this information.