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Lilo announces priorities

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PRIME Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has announced his government’s priorities for this year.

Speaking during the launching at the Heritage Park Hotel yesterday, the Prime Minister said 2013 is expected to be a successful year for the government and the nation.

Prime Minister Lilo outlined some of the government’s priority programs and projects for this year which include:

1.  the transition of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) into the Solomon Islands National University (SINU),

2.   the government’s commitment to health,

3.   the establishment of a Mining Development Authority and

4.   the government will embark on initiatives and promote artisanal fisheries.

Elaborating on SICHE transition into SINU, the Prime Minister said after the enactment of the SINU Act by parliament in 2012, the government will continue to assist SICHE Council and the Taskforce in transition of SICHE into SINU.

He said the blueprint which is the Transition and Implementation Action Plan (2012) is already in place.

“To complement the offerings by our own University, the Government will continue to support and work with the University of the South Pacific to construct its Solomon Islands Campus at Doma on Guadalcanal Province in respond to the growing demand of tertiary education among our youths and working population,” Mr Lilo said.

On the subject of health programs, Prime Minister Lilo said the government would continue to pursue health programs that aim to promote reliable and efficient services by our health experts so that these services could be easily accessed by our rural people.

Mr Lilo said one of the classical and fine examples was the renovation of the Tulagi Hospital in Central Islands Province.

Apart from that, Prime Minister Lilo said the establishment of a Mining Development Authority was vital.

He said this is vital given the abundance of our natural resources and its potential of contributions to the growth of our country.

“The formulation of this initiative is timely for effective and efficient use and appreciation of these natural resources,” Mr Lilo said.

“Some of the objectives of this national body include orderly management of tenements such as adapting sound regulations to increase the prospecting license, and other rules to bring the framework in line with modern practice as well as, revision of the mining legislation and laws to comply with contemporary mining practices.”

Mr Lilo added that as a member country of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, Solomon Islands will benefit from this initiative through the support for revenue transparency in the extractive sector and better management and resolution of disputes in the mining sector.

By Douglas Marau