The National Government through its key ministries have signed a Memorandum of Agreement, MOA, to pave the way for the implementation of the revitalisation process of the Commodities Export Marketing, CEMA, this week.
The MOA was signed by the respective Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Commerce Industry Labour and Immigration, MCILI, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, MAL, and Ministry of Infrastructure Development, MID, and the Board Deputy Chair of the Commodities Exports Marketing Authority, CEMA and witnessed by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Permanent Secretary and the Policy Secretary for the Productive Sector in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The MOA is to guide the key ministries in their partnership, contributions and support towards the implementation process of revitalising CEMA for the next seven (7) years.
Speaking during the signing, MCILI Permanent Secretary Riley Mesepitu said the signing is a call for partnership in the implementation of the MoA by the leading Ministries with CEMA.
“This calls for partnership, collaboration, coordination and cohesiveness to synergize in the implementation of the revitalisation process of CEMA.
“The MOA has clearly stated the contributions and support to CEMA by each key ministry,” said Mesepitu.
He said with the revitalisation of CEMA, services will be delivered to the rural people by the Government through the responsible ministries.
“Revitalisation of CEMA will increase our exports and the standard and quality that will bring foreign exchange into our country,” added Mesepitu.
Mesepitu said MCILI has already factored in its budget to support CEMA to implement the phases of the project.
MAL Permanent Secretary Ethel Tebengi Frances has reaffirmed MAL support towards the rehabilitation of CEMA to be fully functional again.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is committed to support CEMA through the rehabilitation and sustaining of the existing plantations in our rural areas to increase production,” she said.
Ms Frances called on the CEMA Board to implement the support to be rendered to manage CEMA up and running.
MID Permanent Secretary Stephen Maesiola said the MID is always ready to support the key stakeholders to revitalise CEMA.
“This signing is a positive step towards development in our rural areas and MID is always ready to provide support through the basic infrastructures to support economic development,” he said.
Maesiola also called on the supporting key ministries including CEMA to work in partnership in the implementation process.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, McKinnie Dentana said the signing marks one of the priorities of the National Government’s policy to support the copra production in the country.
“This is a very important sector in our economy which the government always lay on in times of crises especially during the COVID 19 impact.
“This is the sector that we channelled the funding for our producers to bring their produces to the market and we do trading,”
“Records have shown increase in copra production last year due to the government’s support towards the sector,” said Dentana.
Dentana also called on the CEMA Board to work in partnership with the stakeholders to the successful implementation of CEMA.
“To CEMA Board, we will be putting our hope to you to the successful implementation through your deliveries because you will be our bench mark of support,” he said.
Representing CEMA Board and signatory to the Memorandum of Agreement Deputy Chair Belani Tekulu said the obligation placed on CEMA as the implementer of the program symbolises the trust and confidence by line government ministries.
Tekulu assured the line Ministries PSs that CEMA in terms of manpower is ready to work in partnership with the ministries to revitalise the Authority.
Tekulu further made the assurance that CEMA is undergoing restructuring in preparation to implement the agreement, the restructuring involves the engagement of a qualified lawyer and a land valuer.
Tekulu also added that CEMA continues to work closely with engineers in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) and the government’s sub- committee on CEMA as well.
The CEMA’s deputy chairman highlighted that people in the rural areas are anticipating government’s intervention to revive and drive the cocoa and copra industries, and the program comes at no better time.
Belani Tekulu pointed out that during the implementation part of the program, CEMA will continue to work closely with the line ministries and that such connection will ensure the program is implemented successfully over the course of the seven years’ period.
Policy Secretary for the Productive Sector in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Samson Viulu said the signing of the MOA will boost the value adding and down streaming, and export policies within the productive sector of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement, DCGA.
“This MOA is an example of DCGA’s efforts to strengthen coordination in the planning, budgeting and implementation of government flagship projects within the productive sector including CEMA,” said Dr Viulu.
DCGA is committed to implement all of its flagship projects including the revitalization of CEMA’s trading functions to service all of the far-flung islands and rural communities to increase the volume of copra exports.