THE Australian Government has provided additional funding support of $71 Million to help Solomon Islands implement its health and economic response to COVID-19.
Australian High Commissioner Dr. Lachlan Strahan signed the funding support document with Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Jeremiah Manele, Thursday.
Speaking at the signing ceremony yesterday, Australian High Commissioner Dr. Lachlan Strahan described the ceremony as another milestone in the two countries’ relationship.
“It’s a powerful demonstration of a deep relationship that binds us together through thick and thin,” he said.
Strahan said Australia will continue to help the Solomon Islands in the areas of health, economy, and security.
In acknowledging the support, Manele said budget support provided by Australia will greatly assist the Solomon Islands Government to meet some of its COVID-19 preparedness and response activities and assist with managing the social and economic impacts faced by Solomon Islands due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manele said the budget support provided by Australia will specifically assist the government in two areas;
1. Health sector COVID-19 response
2. The Government’s Economic Stimulus COVID-19 Response Plan
He said a total of approximately $43.7 million will directly go towards the health sector COVID-19 response.
“With amount equivalent to AUD$ 8 million (approximately $43.7 million) this will include support to the isolation and quarantine infrastructure requirements, logistics, medical equipment, personal protection equipment, laboratory equipment including COVID testing kits, water, and sanitation projects, surge personal or technical assistance in Honiara and throughout the provinces,” he said.
He added for the government’s Economic Stimulus COVID-19 Response Plan, an amount equivalent to AUD$5 million (approximately $27.3 million) will go towards supporting the government’s economic stimulus package which has just launched this week.
Manele said it’s a pleasure on behalf of the government and the people of Solomon Islands as he conveyed the country’s sincere appreciation and thanks to the government of Australia and its people for providing the much-needed budget support to assist in the fight against the COVID-19.
By IAN M.KAUKUI