By ANDREW FANASIA
WHILST so much skepticism was echoed in the media leading up to the formation of the bank, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had officially launched the Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI).
“My fellow Solomon Islanders, this is your bank,” Sogavare uttered during his official remarks yesterday.
Rural communities now have an institution that will enable them to access financial services.
DBSI project is one of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) flagship policy.
“In 2015 the Cabinet agreed to establish a task force and a subcommittee to progress DBSI revitalisation,” Sogavare said.
It was then, followed by various consultations at the provincial level with overwhelming support from rural Solomon Islanders for the re-establishment of DBSI.
In 2018 the government passed the DBSI Act in parliament to strengthen the governance and address key legal weaknesses that have contributed to the poor performance of the former DBSI and its eventual demise.
Sogavare said that in affirming the government’s commitment to this project, the government has allocated SBD26 million as start-up capital to DBSI in the national budget.
“This government will continue to support the bank to ensure its sustainability in order to attain its overall objectives towards our economy’s overall development.
“What we have witnessed today is the manifestations of my government’s drive and pursuit for a financial institution that would truly serve the citizens of this country,” he added.
He further stressed that the demise and absence of the former DBSI have directly affected local businesses through the creation of an unequal playing field.
The situation has resulted in an environment where local business folks could hardly compete against foreign investors.
The closure of the former DBSI also affected funding for productive investments in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and small to medium enterprises in rural areas.
“It is imperative that our rural people are active participants in our economy rather than being bystanders and spectators.
“We must and we will empower them through DBSI your bank,” Sogavare said.
The launching was witnessed by government ministers, business people, and representatives from development partners and organizations.