11 May 2005

Solomon Islands encourages foreign investment but protects local resources

7:13 am on 11 May 2005

The Solomon Islands Commerce Ministry says there will be safeguards in the proposed new Foreign Investment Act to protect the country's resources.

The Commerce permanent secretary, Allan Arafoa, says the draft bill is intended to speed up the time it takes to approve foreign investment applications.

He says there's interest from investors in returning to the country but there have been complaints about bottlenecks in the process.

Mr Arafoa says the bill will streamline this but at the same time, the investors will be required to comply with the regulations and procedures of the Commerce Ministry and others, like Fisheries and Forestry.

"Once they're in the country, the control will be with both with the line department and this department here. So, that once they do not comply with the approvals, then their investment can be de-registered."

Mr Arafoa says the draft bill will be discussed by NGOs, government officials and others, at a seminar to be held on the 20th May.

He says he expects it to then be presented to parliament at the end of this month or early next.