15 Sep 2007

Solomons opposition says govt threat over RIPEL could frighten foreign investors

9:56 am on 15 September 2007

The Solomon Islands opposition says the government threatens to frighten away foreign investors if it tries to nationalise the troubled Russell Islands Plantations Limited.

RIPEL, whose workers have been on strike for three years over concerns at the management, is a major producer of cocoa and coconut products on Guadalcanal and Russell Islands.

The three year stand off has been marked by bitterness and sporadic violence.

Now the government has revealed plans to take over the operation in order to revive what it is says is a major foreign currency earner for the country.

But the Opposition Leader, Fred Fono, says the Government's plan could scare off other foreign investors in large scale operations.

And he says the plan is not in line with the actions of successive administrations which have over the years privatised and corporatised state enterprises to ease the financial burden on the country.