22 December 2020
Prime Minister Sogavare and the Indonesian Company WIKA Team leader during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Work on the construction of the 2023 Pacific Games Multi-Purpose Futsal Stadium has officially commenced, Monday.

The commencement of work was officially declared during a groundbreaking ceremony officiated by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

The ceremony was held at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Panatina campus sports ground in East Honiara.

A number of guests, government officials, engineers, and the public witnessed the ceremony.

Speaking at the brief ceremony Sogavare said, a lot of the 2023 Pacific Games Facilities Projects had been delayed due to COVID 19 pandemic, nevertheless his government and the bilateral partners are determined to deliver all the facilities in time for the 17th Pacific Games that will be held in Solomon Islands in 2023.

He said yesterday was 935 days away from the official opening ceremony of the 2023 Pacific Games that will be officially opened on the 16th July 2023. 

The closing ceremony is scheduled for 29 July 2023.

He said work on the country’s new futsal home would not have been possible if Solomon Islands government did not enter into a historical partnership with the government of the Republic of Indonesia and the government of the People’s Republic of China.

He described the two countries as key donors of the 2023 Pacific Games Facilities.

He said the Multi-purpose Futsal Stadium is a gift by the government and people of the Republic of Indonesia. 

It is valued at USD$7.5 million.

He said the deal was strengthened in November 2018 when the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo offered to gift the country with a Multi-Purpose Futsal Stadium.

Sogavare recalled saying the government of Indonesia quickly followed up with their President’s promise to ensure the multi-purpose Futsal facility was completed in time for the 2023 Pacific Games.

Below is the timeline of events leading up to the successful start of the project;

  • In February 2019, the Republic of Indonesia sent a team from their State Owned Enterprise, PT Wijaya Karrya (Persero) Tbk simply referred to as ‘ WIKA’ to Solomon Islands to conduct the feasibility study. The NHA presented its proposal for the Multipurpose Futsal Stadium to WIKA during its first visit.
  • In September 2019, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia received the report of WIKA’s feasibility study which incorporated NHA’s proposal. 
  • The Solomon Island Government secured 112.5 billion Rupiah (USD Equivalent $7.5 million) grant aid from the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for the project. The Financing agreement was signed on the 18th December 2019 on behalf of Solomon Islands Government by Solomon Islands Ambassador to Indonesia H.E. Salana Kalu in Jakarta.
  • In March 2020, WIKA and the NHA agreed on the scope and design parameters for the multipurpose futsal hall. The completed the design with plans to commence the construction in the first half of this year. However, COVID-19 intervened and caused a setback to the plans by almost 9 months.
  • The WIKA team however put this period into good use. They completed all the design work and worked in Virtual mode with the NHA team to the extent the project is ready to be implemented.
  • On the 17th of November 2020 ten, (10) engineers from WIKA arrived in the country to commence construction of the project. The team went through the mandatory 21-day quarantine period and was released from quarantine on the 8th of December 2020.
  • PM commends the engineers from WIKA for their commitment and diligence because less than 2 weeks after their release from quarantine, they are already out – starting to build.

Sogavare said the target completion date for the multipurpose futsal hall is no later than December 2022. 

“I have been reliably informed that the facility will likely be completed no later than June of 2022. 

“My government will provide all the support needed to ensure the work on this facility is not delayed. 

“Once completed, this multipurpose futsal facility will enable all indoor sports to train and host competitions for virtually all indoor sports that are currently played at the Pacific Games.

“The facility can also be used to host functions, examinations, conferences, and cultural events,” he said. 

He also took time to acknowledge the support provided to the 2023 Pacific Games by the SINU Council and Management. “This hall is built on SINU land and I take this opportunity to thank the SINU Council and management for their cooperation in ensuring that they avail the land for the construction of the Multi-Purpose Futsal Stadium,” he said.

The PM said his government will make sure the country will host a memorable game in 2023.

By Carlos Aruafu
Newsroom, Honiara