The Small Malaita Chief has called on the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) to explain to his people on the progress of the Afio Wharf Rehabilitation Project.
He made the call after the project was left abandoned forcing the travelling passengers to use floaters and OBM canoe to board ship and unload their good.
The project was funded by Solomon Islands Government in 2021-2022.
In a statement the chief said the contractor started the construction work in April 2022 by collecting and pilings of stones then abandoned the rehabilitation project and never return.
He said over the Christmas period the travelling passengers have to use floaters and OBM Canoe to board the ship and unload their goods.
Several calls have been made in the social media questioning those in authorities to make priorities to rehabilitate the wharf as soon as possible.
The Chief question when is the last time the Minister and the Permanent Secretary of MID or their officials make a site visit to see the progress of the Afio Wharf Rehabilitation project?
The Chief said that the wharf is a public good and the Afio land perpetual owner is the Premier of Malaita Province and its administration office in Afio is to ensure those public goods are maintained and managed properly.
Afio Sub-station represents the people of the whole of the Southern region not Small Malaita only and it should be a concern of everyone in the region.
The Chief adds it has been a concern that Auki has no interest in the Afio substation and let alone the three (3) Members of the Provincial Assemblies and the National MPs of the region.
He asked if Small Malaita Constituency Office (SMCO) could step in to rehabilitate the wharf.
In respond to the call the SMCO said that they have twice repaired Afio Wharf in 2012 and 2016 and since MID has decided to manage the project they are happy to see that the national government is involving on the infrastructure development in the southern region this time and further SMCO is also an agent of the Solomon Islands Government and therefore it’s good to see MID involving. The important thing is to deliver the project as expected by the people of the southern region.
The Chief said that the Malaita Provincial Officer at Afio confirmed that the Afio Rehabilitation project is a government funded project and the only concern is that the awarding of the tender to the winning contractor has not been done transparently and because the SIG offered to rehabilitate the Afio Wharf the USAID grant funding through Winrock Scale program has to be withdrawn from us because the intention of the funding is also for Afio Wharf project.
Infrastructure development is to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the rural people by providing access to government service and to provide the enabling environment for more economic opportunities and therefore it is important for such facilities like Afio wharf to be rehabilitated without delay.