WASHINGTON/HONIARA (WORLD BANK) — The World Bank will bolster efforts to strengthen financial management, address debt issues and empower the Solomon Islands Internal Commission Against Corruption by providing a supplemental US$15 million to existing support for these reforms.

At the end of November 2021, protests and rioting in Honiara caused widespread destruction with economic damage amounting to around US$86 million or roughly 7 percent of the nation’s GDP. These impacts were compounded by a reduction in tax collections from impacted businesses, decreased economic activity from lockdowns and higher import prices for goods due to the conflict in Ukraine. The World Bank has committed the extra funding to ensure the Solomon Islands government is able to continue providing necessary services and operations while continuing to work towards improved public financial management, anti-corruption efforts and environmental sustainability.

“We’re pleased to be standing with Solomon Islanders in meeting the unprecedented economic shocks the country has faced in the past two years, and to assist in keeping the government’s ambitious reform programme on track,” said Annette Leith, World Bank Resident Representative in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. “This new support will help Solomon Islands continue to focus on strengthening financial management, improving the business environment, and responding to the significant threats of climate change.”

“We welcome this additional assistance from the World Bank as the people and government of Solomon Islands respond to the wide-ranging impacts of civil unrest, widespread community transmission of COVID-19, and trade and supply chain issues,” said Rex Ramofafia, Supervising Minister for Finance and Treasury. “This support will also further efforts to improve environmental sustainability – with support for national planning related to climate change and the reduction of plastic waste.”

The existing government reform programme aims to increase the transparency of procurement processes, keep debt at manageable levels, and support more efficient tax processes. The reform programme will also assist the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption to strengthen its reporting processes and boost women’s representation in anti-corruption efforts.

Finally, reforms supported through this World Bank support will also focus on improvements to climate adaptation planning, by increasing the number of communities that are assessed for climate vulnerability and adaptation, decreasing the use of single use plastics and reducing imports of plastic bags.

The new assistance comes as the World Bank announces an historic increase in its support to Solomon Islands, with over US$130 million over four projects expected to be approved throughout the month of June. The three other projects include support for fisheries management, aviation and roads, and infrastructure in rural areas…. PACNEWS

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