Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Port Moresby says the PNG High Commission Chancery building in Honiara, is likely to open next year.
The new complex is currently under construction at the Townground area, West Honiara.
According to reports from the MFA, the chancery construction was initially awarded to a local contractor, Transworld Commodities Limited, which failed to complete the project in 2010.
MFA said the contract was subsequently terminated by the PNG government in May 2013 and new tenders were called for and Lamana Development Limited (LDL) was awarded the contract.
The successful bid was K18.8 million, exclusive of GST, and the construction has progressed smoothly apart from a few days caused by wet weather.PNG works department has been tasked to supervise the project.
The report stated that the PNG High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Fred Yakasa said project was progressing well and it should be finalized by March next year, meaning the project period will be reduced by eight months.
He anticipates a grand opening in 2015, coinciding with PNG’s 40th Independence Day anniversary.
The chancery, which the former Somare government initiated in 2009, was to reflect the long and close bilateral diplomatic relationships between the Melanesian neighbours PNG and Solomon Islands.
The ties were cemented in 1978 when PNG was four years old and the Solomon Islands two years old.
PNG works Minister Fransis Awesa’s visited Honiara in March accompanied by works Secretary David Wereh and technical officers to inspect the progress of reconstruction of the chancery and were impressed with the progress.
The chancery will house the High Commission’s diplomatic office, executive residences for its diplomatic staff and a recreational hall for hosting social events and gatherings.
By ELLIOT DAWEA
Divine Word University