Speaking at the SIDP’s National Congress on Saturday, Wing Leader Mathew Wale said the youths have a greater stake in the governance of our country and must be encouraged to engage in policy dialogue and activism.
“On our current government policy direction, it is expected that many young Solomon Islanders will not be able to find meaningful productive employment as the economy faces a precarious future,” he said.
Wale said this must be a great concern to all Solomon Islanders but especially the young people.
“But why are our young not animated enough by this? We would do well to pause and reflect on that,” he said.
“The growth rates currently projected for the economy over the next twenty years will merely perpetuate the status quo as the pressure from the expanding youth bulge in our demographic increase in face of rapidly diminishing natural resources base and land loss due to sea level rise,” he said.
He said it is difficult to see where sustainable growth is being created in the economy to absorb and harness this demographic pressure.
“This must concern us, as it ought to concern the government. Government approach so far has been one of abdication of responsibility, leadership neglect and blindly hoping circumstances will determine matters in the best way for our country.
“I would go further and say that I am extremely concerned that it appears the current government harbours a superstitious belief that China will come and do everything for Solomon Islands,” he said.
Wale said there is a neglect and abdication of responsibility by the government.
“Not only will young Solomon Islanders find it difficult to get employment, they will also find it very difficult to enter into business as sectors in our economy that ought to be reserved become saturated with foreign businesses that collude to marginalise our own,” he said.
He said the mindless foreign investment policy pursued by the government will shut out indigenous Solomon Islanders.
“Our young people are also prised out of the urban property market by an absentminded government urban land policy.
“Our young will find very few training opportunities as the expanding youth bulge imposes unbearable pressure on an already unsustainable funded education system,” he said.
Wale said all these makes for more vulnerable nation, one that will become even more said dependent and socially unstable.
“Left on the current policy trajectory, this is where Solomon Islands is heading,” he said.
“SIDP believes strongly that Solomon Islands is endowed with sufficient resources to build a strong viable and sustainable economy. An economy that advances social justice and inclusive growth and that also empowers and supports the meaningful participation of Solomon Islanders,” he added.
By IAN M.KAUKUI