Solomon Islands Finance Minister Sogavare identifies revenue leakages

Manasseh Sogavare

Solomon Islands Minister of Finance and Treasury, Manasseh Sogavare, has emphasised the ministry’s commitment to addressing significant revenue leakages within various government departments. 

Sogavare candidly admitted, “We have ourselves to blame.”  

Speaking in parliament, he emphasised the government’s determination to tackle revenue leaks, particularly concerning tax exemptions. He urged all parliamentarians to prioritize the nation’s interests, stating, “We are here to serve our people.” 

Sogavare pointed out that the government faces substantial revenue losses in areas that are controllable.  

He lamented, “This is not fair to the Ministry of Finance, as we are consistently under pressure to release payments when certain government entities knowingly undermine our revenue collection efforts.” 

Addressing the state of the government’s economy, Sogavare acknowledged its struggles and highlighted inefficiencies within the government’s mechanisms, especially regarding tax exemptions.  

He revealed that in the first four months of the year, from January to April 2024, both the Inland Revenue and Customs Departments granted exemptions totaling $83.6 million (US$10 million). 

Sogavare said this amount could have been allocated to essential infrastructure projects such as road repairs. 

He further elaborated, “This figure includes $9.4 million (US$1.13 million) in statutory exemptions, over which I have no authority. Additionally, there are $70.2 million (US$8.42 million) in discretionary exemptions, of which $8.6 million (US$1 million) is allocated to members of parliament.” 

Sogavare warned that if the current trend persists, the government stands to lose over $222.6 million (US$26.6 million) through discretionary exemptions alone by the end of 2024.