18 Mar 2003

Solomons details investment plan of Australian company

10:30 am on 18 March 2003

The Solomon Islands government has revealed more about a projected deal with a Queensland company, called Noris Dynan Corporation.

The head of the policy evaluation unit, Sir George Lepping, says it's a large proposal, worth about 75 million US dollars, and the government is looking into the feasibility of it.

He says the main feature of the offer is for a five-star hotel near the main airport.

Sir George says this proposal involves a lot of land because it will probably include a golf course.

He also confirms that the company is looking into the establishment of free trade zones and a new airline.

"At the moment, our Solomon Airlines is doing its best but at the mercy of other airlines that we have connections with. But the main investment they are proposing is for Tulagi for example for duty free area is a possibility, the building of various commercial activities and also for Malaita."

Sir George Lepping.

Last week, an opposition MP, Alfred Sasako, revealed that the prime minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, had promised the company the Government would fast track legislation to allow it to compete with Solomon Airlines.

Since then Sir Allen has announced that Solomon Islands is to adopt an open skies policy.