PREPARATION for the 2023 Pacific Games is on track and with plans to have most of the sporting infrastructures completed by mid next year.
The country will host the Games in November 2023 and the nation is excited.
Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19 work is making progress.
There have been calls from the Opposition Office to divert some of the funds for the Games to deal with COVID-19 situation in the country.
However, government on the other hand has defended its action after seeing the benefits this major project will have on the economy and the country.
It was highlighted that the preparations of the Games is the single largest catalyst that is driving economic activity at this point in time in our country.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during his nationwide address on Friday 11th March, said as the project progresses more jobs will be created and the economic spin-offs will help the country because funds coming from overseas will help to support the economy during this challenging period.
The National Hosting Authority, Games Organizing Committee (GOC) and Games Facilities Committee provided a full briefing to the Government Caucus and Cabinet last week there they highlighted some of the benefits.
It was highlighted that in the next 20 months, the 2023 Pacific Games preparation will not only invest more than 1.5 billion dollars into our economy, it will engage and employ up to 10,000 people and it is the principle driver of other major projects.
Most of these jobs will be both long and short term as the project progresses.
It was also highlighted that these other projects to be driven by the Games includes the Kukum Highway project, the International Airport project, the road from HCC to White River, the Tina Hydro project, the many improvement projects in Honiara city, the markets development in Honiara and Guadalcanal province.
Therefore, collectively, the Games Project is mobilising more than 3 billion dollars of additional investment to be injected into our economy in the next 2 years through other projects.
Prime Minister said that without the 2023 Pacific Games, these projects will either get stalled, or even be canceled.
“Let me assure the people of Solomon Islands, the Pacific Games is the main driver of our current economic revival, it is the major employer of Solomon Islanders, and it is the principal catalyst for other major economic activities for our country,” Prime Minister Sogavare has said.
Apart from the overseas contractors our local contractors are also been engaged and are now busy upgrading most of the sports grounds and fields owned by Honiara City Council within the city.
With the current challenges brought about by COVID-19 on the country’s economy, the number of projects that are currently rolling is no doubt giving many of our locals and contractors an opportunity to have jobs.
Not only that but our local shops, markets, hardware shops, fuel suppliers and other private contractors and businesses are benefiting from these project.
Most of these projects are funded by our overseas friends and partners and this means funds are being pumped into the economy.
When the Games facilities are completed, no doubt it would bring a whole new facelift to Honiara city.
No Pacific countries has ever built its sporting infrastructures in a health pandemic period and for that the country should be thankful to the government and its development partners for making sure most of these projects are moving on schedule.