Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Monday met the Fiu Hydro Land and Resource Owners Taskforce where he was presented with the group’s strategic work plan for 2015-2017.
The Fiu Land and Resource Owners comprised of various landowning groups and tribes involved in the Fiu Hydro Power Project on Malaita.
In December 2011, the twenty eight tribes collectively came together and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Malaita Provincial Government to develop the project.
The move is a milestone development and achievement on the part of land and resource owners who unselfishly gave up their land for the development of rural electrification and energy development on Malaita and Solomon Islands.
The Prime Minister was also briefed about the Taskforce’s groundwork so far during which he commended the group for their commitment and determination to work together to ensure the smooth progress of the project.
Taskforce Chairman, Alfred Gegeo commended Prime Minister Sogavare for the DCC Government’s commitment to prioritize the project as one of the major development projects on Malaita.
He said the project will not only empower people in the Central Region of Malaita but is critical for the overall development Malaita Province and the rest of Solomon Islands.
Mr Gegeo also commended the Prime Minister for his previous assurances to the people of Malaita of the DCC Government’s commitment to support the project in every way possible.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has praised the group for their commitment and approach to open up their land for the project.
“Your visit to me and the fact that you have committed yourselves and your land to this project has meant a lot to the government and it shows that you care a lot about developments on Malaita,” the Prime Minister said.
He said the current arrangement between landowners, the government and donor partners regarding the Fiu Hydro project is a classic example of partnership with landowners to develop their resources, particularly, in rural areas.
He added that the fact that the Fiu Hydro project is starting soon is a fine example of a successful project and praised the landowning groups for their vision to develop their province.
The Fiu Hydro Power Project is situated in the Fiu River in the Central Kwara’ae constituency. It is an important national project for the Solomon Islands Government as reflected in its Policy Statement.
The total funding for the project is around US$15 million, with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) providing US$12 million, while the Solomon Islands Government and the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) contributing the remaining US$3 million.
In March this year, a financing agreement for the project was signed in Honiara between the Government and ADB.
The Project will be undertaken by SIEA as part of its provincial development energy programme to expand its operations throughout the country. Fiu Hydro has the potential to increase electricity capacity to Auki Township and other surrounding areas once operational.
It is also anticipated that the project has the potential to increase SIEA’s capacity to supply power to important establishments like the Kilu’ufi and Fauabu hospitals with the possibility to reach key growth centers like Bina Harbour.