THE Government of Japan is providing further grant assistance of three hundred and sixty-five million Japanese yen (approx. SBD$26.5 million) for the Honiara International airport project.
To formally facilitate the funding assistance, a signing ceremony was held on Wednesday in Honiara.
Speaking at the official Exchange of Note, Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands H.E Morimoto Yasuhiro said this is for the additional grant assistance for the ‘Project for Improvement of Honiara International Airport.’
He added that “the signing is a reminder to all of us that despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all still adapt in our collaboration to move forward with our development assistance and the plans.
He said that this project’s construction phase was delayed due to the pandemic from November 2019 until the end of last year when it actually started.
He added that they appreciate the contractor, Kitano Construction for staying continuously in Honiara during the uncertain times to do the preparatory work.
“That made the project get restarted smoothly to date and we are glad to witness the good progress of the construction work during the project construction site visit last Friday,” he added.
He also highlighted that the historical significance of the Honiara International Airport to both the Solomon Islands and Japan should not be forgotten.
H.E Yasuhiro also conveys his sincere appreciation to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET), Jeremiah Manele, and his staff for their continuous assistance in facilitating this Exchange of Notes for the additional funding.
The additional funding support means the cost to fund the project now stands at $347million.
The cost was incurred due to eight months delay in the start of the project.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last week made a first progress site visit.
The visit was to see work that has been done so far at the new terminal building, the apron, and the taxiway.
The project is expected to be completed before the start of the Pacific Games in July 2023.
By ANDREW FANASIA