Via Island Sun (Solomon Islands)
“We (Ma’asina) are trying to find solutions whereby we can specifically help the people of Malaita. This is because the contributions that have been done by Malaitans in the past, it was the whole nation that benefited from them.”
THE MALAITA Ma’asina Forum (MMF) is considering the establishment of a commercial bank for Malaita people. This followed a number of issues, which MMF feels the national and provincial governments have utterly overlooked in terms of development in the province.
Speaking during a press conference yesterday, newly elected president of MMF Charles Dausabea explained the proposal had arisen because the Solomons’ development path was not working for the Malaitan people.
“Therefore, as sons of the Malaitans, we (Ma’asina) are trying to find solutions whereby we can specifically help the people of Malaita. This is because the contributions that have been done by Malaitans in the past, it was the whole nation that benefited from them.”
He claimed that Malaitans’ share of the economy is imbalanced nowadays, despite the contributions and wisdoms of their fathers.
“The executive has finally agreed to set up a Malaita bank for Malaita people,” Dausabea said in May. “We have made a new decision that we will be more focused on the development approach including the well-being of the Malaita people.”
He added that this idea was to give Malaitans the opportunities to access finance and for them to be involved in the domestic economy of Malaita. Malaita people in rural areas would be able to access finance.
“In this way, the people of Malaita can experience the benefits of their direct contribution towards our local economy which will in turn have a huge impact on the national economy.”
However, before the intention could be made a reality, the technical committee appointed will be engaged to carry out a feasibility study and run awareness to the people in Malaita regarding the initiative.
Speaking on behalf of the appointed research team for the project, Martin Housanau said in order to have a strong national and Malaitan economy, “we must have our own financial institution.” Housanau added that it is also through the involvement of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that the country will be able to have a strong economy, but that currently there was a lack of finance for SMEs.
Housanau said establishing a Malaitan financial institution would allow all economic development projects in Malaita including Auluta, Bina Harbor and Waisisi to be funded.
“Not only will it be able to fund the big projects which Ma’asina claimed not have seen any tangible progress in, it can also help those Small Medium Enterprises in Malaita which can directly contribute towards their domestic economy,” Housanau said.
The Technical Committee team leader also said the initative would increase employment opportunities.
Housanau said the proposal would not progress unless there were positive outcomes from dialogues between the Forum’s executive with the relevant authorities and the people of Malaita.
Meanwhile, MMF President Dausabea acknowledged and thanked the forefathers of the Malaitan people whose “contribution towards the development of Solomon Islands are the pillars the country is standing on, even today”.