HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS (22 November 2016) — Applications for foreign investment licenses and business name registrations can now be lodged online and processed in 24 hours thanks to upgrades to Solomon Islands’ business registry.

The registry has been accepting online applications for company registrations since 2010. It has now been expanded so that applications for foreign investment licenses and business name registrations can also be lodged online. 

The expanded registry was launched by Hunter Masuguria, Acting Permanent Secretary of Solomon Islands Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, 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). 

“Accessible and transparent foreign investment processes help attract the skills and capital needed to accelerate national development,” said Emma Fan, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. “By making it easier for foreign investors to do business in Solomon Islands and for local businesses to partner with foreign investors, this upgraded online registry removes a barrier to increased private sector-led economic growth.” 

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,” said Invest Solomons Director Derick Aihari “Using the online registry applications can now be done anywhere and a Certificate for Foreign Investment could be issued within 24 hours.”

Similarly, business name registrations, which previously had to be done in person and took around a week to process, can now be done online and processed within a day. This will be of particular benefit to 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 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.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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