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Solomon Islands business owners pledge to uphold integrity in everyday operations

Honiara (Solomon Islands), 18 November 2020
- Recognising that inequality and corruption hinders national and local development efforts, over 30 businesswomen and men from the provinces of Solomon Islands have called for a united action against corruption.

The call was made at an Anti-corruption and Integrity workshop delivered by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and supported by the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, together with the Transparency and Accountability for people of Solomon Islands Project implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in the Solomon Islands.

The two-days Anti-corruption and Integrity training was aimed at building capacity of business operators to strengthen internal control mechanisms, ethics and compliance of women-owned, and managed Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Participants also recognised the need for further regional and dedicated anti-corruption training/webinars with an added focus on producing a localised toolkit specifically for women-owned MSMEs.

A representative of the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) Mrs. Dalcy Tekulu suggested that such trainings are crucial, as it enhances knowledge of integrity standards and provisions as well as help businesses to engage and develop appropriate preventive business integrity measures.

Highlighting the importance of business integrity for young entrepreneurs, participants were encouraged to develop their specific codes of conduct which should outline principles of corporate governance that reflect the values and principles of business owners and appropriate local laws.

“It is crucial that businesses promote integrity in order to ensure conducive and fair environment for businesses to thrive,” a young businessman who runs a printing company in Auki, Malaita Province, Mr. Solomon Alufo’oa said.

According to a Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) Private Sector Scan Report commissioned in 2017, a broad range of issues were identified to negatively impact the private sector and its capacity to support development in the Solomon Islands. Corruption was identified as one of the biggest issues impacting business.

“The training was in line with UNDP’s aim of strengthening anti-corruption institutions and systems, supporting the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), mitigating corruption risks in essential sectors, and strengthening the collective actions of governments, civil society and the private sector in fighting corruption,” said UNDP Solomon Islands Country Manager, Mr Berdi Berdiyev.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser in the Pacific, Ms. Annika Wythes said, “It is important to promote networking between entrepreneurs, along with SICCI and Government, and joint advocacy for transparent, effective and efficient services, in keeping with UN-PRAC’s whole-of-society approach to integrity.”

The UN-PRAC Project is a joint initiative by UNODC and UNDP that is supported by the Australian Government and the New Zealand Aid Programme.

The Transparency and Accountability for people of the Solomon Islands Project is implemented by UNDP in the Solomon Islands and is supported by the Solomon Islands Government and the British High Commission in Honiara with the aim to strengthen the capacities of Solomon Islands’ society to combat corruption.

The UNPRAC and Transparency and Accountability for people of the Solomon Islands Project works with SICCI on private sector integrity issues affecting youth, women, and all entrepreneurs.