Solomon Islands: A call for a refocus in the country’s development strategy with the emphasis on the rural village communities.
Speaking at the launch of the CBSI 2019 Annual Report this week, Dr.Luke Forau, the Central Bank Governor said there needed to be a refocus in the country’s development strategy and he believed the time is right to do it.
Dr Forau reportedly said, “Again, in this pandemic. the village was used as an insurance, people were sent home for safety and I am very certain that the next economic crisis in the future, people will travel back to the village.”
“After 40 years of self-chartering our economic destiny as a country we are still no way near to an economy that can economically sustain its people.”
“The Solomon Islands needs an alternative development path with alternative transmission channel(s) these ideas are not new, but requires champions to initiate the process,” he said.
From Dr Forau’s comments one is mindful of past government’s policy relating to so called rural growth centres and the ‘bottom-up approach ‘initiatives which never really materialised.
On the broader economic front, Dr Forau said the outlook for the Solomon Islands economy this year is quite bleak.
He said although Solomon Islands is still COVID-19 free, the impact of the preparedness against the pandemic on the economy, has taken a toll on the country’s projected growth for this year.
As a result for 2020, economic growth is projected to contract to around minus 5%.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Forau said the country’s external and domestic environments will continue to be affected by the health containment measures and the weak consumer demand.
He pointed out that sectors that have already been affected, and will continue to be affected significantly, include tourism; transport, wholesale & retail, manufacturing, agriculture, and forestry.
He said the economy will go into recession during the second quarter of this year.
“Furthermore, the uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19, let alone our continuous preparedness and containment measures, will continue to have a negative impact on the economy.
“However, over the medium term, growth is expected to return to an average rate of 3.5%, as key infrastructure and development projects are implemented,” he claimed.
Source: Solomon Star News.