By IAN M.KAUKUI
THE Democratic Coalition for Advancement (DCGA) like other past governments have again included Malaita province when it comes to national projects.
In the 2020 national budget speech second reading in parliament last week, Minister of Finance Hurry Kuma said Bina Harbour project and other key projects in Malaita are also included in the budget as key priority national projects for the country.
“Mr Speaker Sir, I also wish to confirm that the DCGA government placed a high commitment on various key projects in Malaita, include the Bina Harbour project,” he said.
Kuma said Bina is progressing well to date and that most of the activities that were earmarked for 2019 have been achieved, while others are deferred to 2020.
“In the 2020 budget, resources are allocated to open a Bina project office under the Ministry of Fisheries, specifically to look after all activities of the Bina Harbour,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Fisheries is continuously working closely with the New Zealand Government to secure various expertise both local and international to assist with moving the project forward.
“In October this year, I also sought support from the International Financial Corporation or IFC of the World Bank Group for technical support to Bina project.
“IFC, therefore has signed an MoU with the Ministry of Fisheries for the feasibility assessment of the fisheries plant,” he added.
He said the Australian government, through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also supports the project by conducting a Hydrographic study of around the vicinity of the Bina Harbour.
“While feasibility studies and assessments are progressed at the Bina Harbour, I wish to inform Parliament that the first phase of a major maintenance and rehabilitation work of South road and bridges from Auki township leading to Bina Harbour will commence construction around the second half of 2020,” he said.
He said that will draw on the financing agreement the government secured with the World Bank Group called the Solomon Islands Road and Aviation Project (SIRAP).
“My intention, Sir, is the secured additional funding with the World Bank Group under IDA 19 to continue the second phase of the project in order to fully rehabilitate both road and bridges that link Auki township and Bina Harbour. The same phase will also focus to North and East road and bridges in Malaita,” he added.
Further to these projects in Malaita, Kuma said the government through the National Transport Fund 2020 work plan will build a new wharf at Malu’u in North Malaita and rehabilitate at least 15 bridges along the North, East and South road.
“These infrastructure rehabilitations are aimed to stimulate economic activities and support other much-needed services to our people in Malaita province,” he said.
Malaita Province Premier Daniel Suidani in a statement yesterday has applauded the national government for making the Bina Harbour Tuna processing plant project a top priority in its 2020 budget.
Suidani said the announcement is welcoming news for the people of Malaita province.
“My people need this development since we have been waiting for a very long time. We do not want to be told of something that may end up not materialised.
“It is a known fact that the New Zealand government have been helping out with the Bina project and that other donors including Australia, IFC and USA are also showing support to the project.
“This is good news to the most populated province of Solomon Islands. It is understood that the proposed facility would process 26,950MT of fish annually and employed more than 2000 people.
“As expected, this project will be complemented with a large commercial wharf suited to international export shipping as well as the significant fuel bunkerage for the supply of fuel to the fishing vessels. The spin off from the project would surely bring development to Malaita province,” Premier Suidani said.