21 Jul 2004

Australian report details wide ranging reforms needed in Solomons economy

5:32 pm on 21 July 2004

With the Australian led Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands approaching its first anniversary, Canberra has issued a report detailing what changes it would like to see in the economy.

RAMSI has indicated rebuilding the economy is the key focus for its second year.

The report called "Solomon Islands:Rebuilding an Island Economy" says reviving agriculture is likely to be the quickest route to economic growth, but productive capacity and market access has to be improved.

The report writers identify the private sector as a key to growth and highlight some of the impediments facing businesses, such as costly infrastructure and lack of access to finance.

It says improvements in sea and air transport will flow from greater private sector involvement.

It also advocates the sale of the country's water supply system and power generator and the elimination of regulations stalling investment.

It suggests that credit unions be re-invigorated as a source of finance rather than trying to kick start the all but collapsed Development Bank.

The report also says the economy's recent dependence on forestry has to end or the resource will be gone by 2015 if not earlier.