5 Sep 2002

Solomon Islands to consider selling passports to raise government's earnings

4:10 pm on 5 September 2002

The Solomon Islands Commerce Minister, Trevor Olavae, says he is planning to introduce to cabinet a proposal on the sale of Solomon Islands' passports to foreigners.

George Atkin reports that the minister says the money obtained from the sales would supplement the country's foreign earnings.

"Mr Olavae says his proposal would allow foreigners to buy passports at fifty thousand American dollars a passport. He says the reason behind the proposal is to encourage foreign investors to come to Solomon Islands and to raise money for the government. Mr Olavae says other countries have been raising their revenue through passport sales and he cannot see why Solomon Islands cannot do likewise, but he says the immigration act would need to be amended by parliament before the sale of passports could be allowed. He says he needs cabinet blessing before he can take the paper to parliament. Meanwhile, Mr Olavae confirms his ministry is investigating an alleged passport racket involving the sale of ten passports to Asians at thirty five thousand American dollars each but he says he cannot confirm things at this stage"