16 Jun 2005

Consultant warns of profit need by future Solomons SOE owners

4:38 pm on 16 June 2005

A consultant to civil society groups in Solomon Islands says any future buyer of the country's State-owned enterprises would want to make a profit before Ramsi quits the islands.

Work is under way in the Solomons to prepare as many as nine Government-owned companies, including the electricity and water authorities, for sale.

The Government says this will encourage growth of both the private sector and jobs.

But private consultant and former government member Ashley Wickham says future owners of the public firms would want to make a profit while the Regional Assistance Mission remains in the Solomons.

"As for the private operators, the new owners, if they come in, I think we can expect to find that they will want to quickly get their money back and declare, and turn a healthy profit before other uncertainties creep in, and this is the sad part of it because we'd rather believe that you know that when the Ramsi period is over that we should have plain sailing in front of us, but there's some cause for concern at this moment in time."

Ashley Wickham says he'd like to see Ramsi remain for the next twenty years.