MORE than 20 Papua New Guinea (PNG) companies are operating in the Solomon Islands as part of the two countries continuous strengthening of relationship in terms of trade and investment.
This was highlighted during a celebration to mark PNG’s 39th independence anniversary on Tuesday at Heritage Park Hotel.
Attending the ceremony was the country’s caretaker Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Manasseh Maelanga with other PNG nationals working here.
PNG high commissioner Fred Yakasa said about 25 PNG companies have registered in Solomon Islands with a total investment of around SBD $500million.
He said the number of companies operating in Solomon Islands signifies the good and strong relationship with Solomon Islands in terms of trade and investment.
Following its investment programmes, the PNG government has also made a commitment to the government to provide educational sponsorship for 800 tertiary level scholarships at the undergraduate level for four years.
“PNG has continuously played a vital role in this country’s human resources development since the establishment of diplomatic relation between the two traditional friends,” Mr Yakasa said.
The successful commitments of the supporting Solomon Islands PNG government also lead towards supporting the recent flood relief programmes with SBD $8.5 million and following that a team of PNG state owned enterprises visited Solomon islands to assess the affected sites, victims, and to consider possible ways to collaborate and alleviate some of the flood relate problems.
Mr Yakasa said one of the important gestures that signifies the two country’s relation is the construction of PNG high commission’s chancery project.
“This project is anticipated to be completed by March 2015. The total cost of project is approximately PGK20m which equivalent to SBD$60 million,”said high commissioner Yakasa.
“PNG is one of closest Melanesian brothers and neighbour to Solomon Islands.
“This relation has been nurtured and strengthened over the years through cooperative dialogues at bilateral, sub regional and international.”
Mr Yakasa said PNG and Solomon islands continued to maintain robust relations through close cooperation across the political, economic, social and cultural spectrum.
Also on Tuesday PNG nationals took time to celebrate the day at Our Telekom recreational area in Ranadi.
By SOLOMON LOFANA