Foreign, local investments easier in Solomons

Upgrades to the Solomon Islands business registry will allow investors seeking foreign investment licenses and business name registrations to lodge online applications and have them processed in 24 hours.rsz_solomonislandset5notespnew20092011Though the registry has been accepting online applications for company registrations since 2010, it has now been expanded to include applications for foreign investment licenses and business name registrations to be lodged online.

The expanded registry was launched by Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga this morning at a ceremony attended by representatives from the private sector and the Australian and New Zealand governments. Creation of the registry was supported by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).

The online service will dramatically reduce the time needed to apply for a foreign investment certificate. “Would-be foreign investors previously had to engage the services of an agent, or apply in-person in our office in Honiara, a process that typically took around 10 days,” Invest Solomons Director Derick Aihari said. “Using the online registry applications can now be done anywhere and a Certificate for Foreign Investment could be issued within 24 hours.”

Welcoming the new upgrade Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ Chief Operating Officer and Head of Investment Manuel Valdez said, “The Solomon Business Registry website will substantially help and facilitate the local business people to register their companies on line without taking pain of going to the office physically.  It ticks the box of Ease of Doing Business in the country and would encourage foreign companies to come and register their businesses smoothly and efficiently.”

Business name registrations, which previously had to be done manually and took a week or so to process, can now be done online and processed within a day. This will benefit the almost-two-thousand business names applicants who have to travel from other islands each year to register their business names.

The new services available through the online registry make it possible for a business person to register as a foreign investor, incorporate a company, and register business names all in one sitting.    As the registry is searchable, key details of all companies, businesses, and foreign investors can now be verified by anyone anytime. The online system will also collect and analyze detailed data on gender, business sectors and applicants’ locations, which will assist government policy formulation.

The updated registry can be accessed at http://www.solomonbusinessregistry.gov.sb

PSDI is a technical assistance facility cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the Government of New Zealand, and ADB. It supports ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. The support of the Australian and New Zealand governments and ADB has enabled PSDI to operate in the region for almost 10 years and assist with more than 280 reforms.

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