16 May 2006

Solomon Islands Central Bank governor seeks meeting with new Finance Minister

12:35 pm on 16 May 2006

The governor of the Solomon Islands Central Bank, Rick Hou, is seeking a meeting with the Finance Minister over the urgent economic issues facing the country.

Mr Hou says he would like to meet the new Finance Minister, Bartholomew Ulafa'alu, as soon as possible because they need to ensure that they are aligned over what the priorities are.

He says the economic base is too limited and 20 percent of the government's revenue is used to service the country's debt of more than 287 million U.S. dollars.

Mr Hou says he has a mixed outlook on the future and believes that much hard work needs to be done to re-establish the country's reputation and put it back on track.

"I will be emphasising issues, namely the debt burden, the economic base, to continue with the reforms agenda, address the somewhat social situation which is not very cohesive. And, very importantly, ensure that there is political stability."

Mr Hou says he's put in a request to hold discussions with Mr Ulafa'alu but it could be next month before it happens.