A Solomon Islands cabinet decision to remove a 20 percent export duty on bauxite is being defended by the chairman of the government caucus.
This comes after an sms conversation between the prime minister and a mining official last November, just before the export duty was removed, was leaked to the press.
In the series of texts published in the Sunday Star, the prime minister Manasseh Sogavare reassured a mining company official of cabinet's intention to remove the export duty.
The caucus chairman, MP for Central Kwara'ae, Jackson Fiulaua defended the prime minister and cabinet.
Mr Fiulaua said to provide an attractive environment for investors, there must be incentives and interaction between investors and national and provincial leaders.
In the same statement the Comptroller of Customs and Excise, Nathan Kama, said there was nothing sinister about the decision to remove duty tax on the bauxite exports.
Mr Kama said a 20 percent duty imposed on previous bauxite exports were a penalty tax aimed at the company Bintang Borneo which had been operating illegally in the country.
He said the company Bintan Mining SI ltd, whose official the prime minister had been talking with, was a different company with legal rights to mine bauxite.
Mr Kama said according to customs laws there is no export duty on Bauxite which is mined legally.