PEOPLE of Hograno, Kia and Havulei constituency in Isabel Province have applauded the National Government for supporting the constituency to purchase a passenger vessel that will address their maritime transport needs.
The MV Lady Libaka was handed over to the constituency Wednesday last week at a ceremony in Kaevanga port, Hograno district by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Development (MID) Manasseh Maelanga.
Mr Maelanga said the National Government through his Ministry is happy to respond to the need of the HKH constituency to address their long time wish for a safe and regular shipping service.
“Shipping is an important service in trade and movement of people and I am glad that your leaders have seen your need that the Government has now delivered. Please assist those who will be in charge of the ship to serve you in your transportation needs,” Maelanga said.
The HKH constituency was located further west of the Island of Isabel, which has been infrequently serviced by existing ship operators – creating challenges to reach markets and access to other socio-economic services.
Member of Parliament for the constituency, Jeremiah Manele applauded the Government for the timely delivery of the vessel.
“On behalf of the Chiefs, leaders, elders and people of HKH constituency, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Deputy Prime Minister and his Ministry for the Government’s $2 million funding support under the National Transport Fund (NTF) towards the purchase of MV Lady Libaka despite of the financial difficulties we face due to the impacts of covid-19.
Mr Manele said additional funding of around $1 million were sourced from constituency development funds to meet refurbishment costs on the vessel in order to comply with the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority requirements.
Solomon Islands is a maritime state and the provision of shipping services to and from markets and other economic hubs will continue to be an important responsibility.
“Access to and availability of regular and efficient shipping service is critical to the social and economic development of our constituencies, provinces and country as a whole,” he said.
The procurement of MV Lady Libaka is in response to the call by HKH people for a regular and non-discriminatory shipping service to serve the constituency.
“In response to the call, I made a commitment to secure a ship for our constituency and I hope it will provide the much needed fair and regular service while we explore other plans including the possibility of getting a new vessel,” Manele said.
The MV Lady Libaka will not only service the HKH constituency but will serve the whole of Isabel and other Islands once needed.
With the launching of the vessel, Mr Manele encouraged constituents to actively engage in agriculture, fisheries and forestry activities to fully utilise the shipping service.