Solomon Islands Finance and Treasury Minister gives assurances on borrowing ahead of the Prime Ministers proposed visit to China.
In the Solomon Islands media reports, understandably, are continuing to focus on the governments claimed rushed move to drop ties with its long time diplomatic partner, Taiwan, and to recognize China.
It is mentioned in the Solomon Times this morning, Thursday, that the Prime Minister, the Hon. Manasseh Sogavare will skip the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations General Assembly and instead travel to China where he is likely to enter into formal discussions regarding the kind of assistance China will give.
Major infrastructure projects are said to be possible matters for consideration, but it is not certain how much assistance might be in the form of loans or grants.
The South China Morning Post recorded in Editorial piece back in June the Prime Minister was under pressure to rethink relations with Taiwan as development issues involving health and youth unemployment concerns were troubling him.
In the same Editorial it said, quote:
But ultimately, if climate science is right, the Solomons greatest need for aid from East or West could be in meeting the threat to whole communities of rising sea levels attributed to global warming.
It will be of interest to see what, if anything might emerge from the Prime Ministers talks in China in respect of tackling and mitigating the growing climate change challenge at home.
In a separate development, the Finance and Treasury Minister, Harry Kuma, has refuted a Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) advisory of the potential debt distress should the country borrow more money from China.
In an article in the Solomon Star today, Minister Kuma said as a responsible government any financial interests or arrangement with China will have to fall under the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act legal framework as well as along with the country's Debt Management Strategy.
The country has a unique legislative framework and Debt Management Strategy that governs as well as advice the government on how it deals with its borrowings needs and other forms of financing like guarantees, Kuma explained.
SIG debt management framework is one of the best in the Pacific, these lead to the current scenarios where our debt is well managed so the perceived negative implication on country debt and fiscal revenue as claimed over switch to China is incorrect and misleading, he added.
Sources: South China Morning Post, Solomon Times and Solomon Star News.