10 Dec 2002

Snyder Rini may be new Finance Minister in Solomon Islands

6:50 pm on 10 December 2002

The Solomon Islands Government says a Cabinet reshuffle could be made as early as tomorrow if the Finance Minister Laurie Chan resigns.

Sir George Lepping in the Prime Minister's Office says there is no confirmation that Mr Chan, who has just presented his first budget, will resign, but he says it is likely.

And Sir George says Deputy Prime Snyder Rini is likely to become the new Finance Minister, while Mr Chan will be moved to another portfolio.

Mr Rini served as Finance Minister in the government set up after the coup in 2000, and was widely criticised for granting remissions on excise duty which cost the government millions of dollars in revenue.

The likely removal of Mr Chan follows the sacking of Michael Maina as Finance Minister in March this year.

Mr Maina had devalued the dollar by 25 percent but he was removed, according to the Prime Minister, for failing to clear it with Cabinet first.

The devaluation was later reversed.