1 Sep 2009

South Pacific Oil Limited comes under scrutiny in Solomon Islands

11:32 am on 1 September 2009

In Solomon Islands, the share-holding arrangement in South Pacific Oil Limited has come under scrutiny in Parliament.

The SIBC reports that during question and answer time last Wednesday, the MP for Lau Mbaelela asked the Finance and Treasury Minister to inform Parliament of the company's share-holding arrangement.

Minister Snyder Rini told Parliament that the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund owns the majority shares of 95 percent, whilst the other shareholder, a company referred to only as GRB owns five percent.

Mr Rini said GRB increases its shares by five percent each year on condition that South Pacific Oil makes a minimum profit of 1.2 million US dollars each year.

He said exclusive management and technical services for the company are being provided by GRB.

Mr Rini said the managing director of SPOL is also a director of GRB and is being paid a consultation fee of over 12 thousand US dollars a month.

The Lau Mbaelelea MP, Walter Folotalu, asked if the managing director is paid to the extent of causing disadvantage to NPF members.

He cited the interest of 2 percent calculated on NPF members shares this year as very low compared to last years interest rate of 18 percent.

Minister Rini however told Parliament that South Pacific Oil had paid dividends of 12-million dollars to NPF in 2007, whilst 1.8 million US dollars was paid to NPF in 2008.

He said it was agreed that GRB manage South Pacific Oil Company because it has the experience and technical expertise.