30 May 2002

Solomons bank governor calls for substantial external aid

10:10 am on 30 May 2002

The governor of the Solomon Islands Central Bank is calling for substantial assistance from international aid donors to get the country back on track.

Rick Hou says that the exchange rate is continuing to slide and with huge external debts, they're not in a position to service loans.

Mr Hou says they need at least 23 million U.S. dollars or 150 million Solomon Islands dollars.

"I'm saying to the government that we will need substantial external donor assistance to keep us going while the longer term issues are being addressed ....sadly we have not really got there yet.... I think everyone is waiting on the Government to see what action needs to be done."

Mr Hou says the government needs to increase its revenue collection and review its public expenditure because compensation payments, which are unbudgeted for, have taken precedence.

The Central Bank governor says the government needs to take action because it's unable to pay its workers on time, its infrastructure is shot, it cannot service its debts nor meet its loan obligations.