A three days national stakeholders consultation meeting in Auki has ended last Friday with a strong re-affirmation and support for the development and implementation of the Fiu Hydro Project on Malaita.
The stakeholders meeting was attended by more than 100 people consisting of Senior Government officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Mines Energy and Rural Electrification, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) , Malaita Provincial Government, resource owners, church leaders, business sector and communities in and around Auki.
Premier of Malaita Province, Peter Ramohia commended the National Government, SIEA and Resource owners for the efforts they have put into the project this far.
He added that the project is ready for implementation as soon as the survey work and land acquisition is completed and for the province, it is indeed a major achievement at least one major project is ready to be implemented and which the province and the people are proud of.
The premier assured the meeting of his Government’s readiness to support the project and to see to its full implementation.
In his presentation at the meeting, Prime Minister’s office representative, Genesis Kofana, Land Reform Consultant, commended all the resource owners and other stakeholders for their efforts and work in the project.
He assured them of the DCC Government strong support and commitment to develop and implement the Fiu Hydro project.
He added that Fiu Hydro is one of the priority projects for DCC Government on Malaita and is pleasing to see its progress to date.
Principal Energy Officer in the Ministry of Mines Energy and Rural Electrification, Richard Babo confirmed in the meeting of the Ministry’s strong support for the project and has taken on board the Resource Owners Strategic Work Plan and to support it in its budget and work programme activities for next year 2016.
He commended the resource owners for their initiative in producing their Strategic Work Plan which will help the Ministry to assist the resource owners in implementing the Fiu Hydro project.
Under Secretary (Technical) in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, Nesta Maelanga informed the meeting that survey work will be undertaken once all formalities are completed.
She commended resource owners for their stand in opening up their land for the development of the hydro project.
SIEA Chief Engineer Marin Sam informed the meeting that work on the project will start as soon as survey work and land acquisition process is completed.
He added that funding for the project at a tune of USD$15 million (SDB$110 million dollars) has already been released for the project.
He further added that two Korean International Firms, Salman and K Wata have won the bid to do the design work for the hydro and when it is completed then an international tender will be undertaken to engage a contractor to build the hydro dam.
According to proposed time line, one all design work and other technical work is completed, construction work on the hydro project should start in 2017.
Chairman of the Fiu Hydro Resource Owners Alfred Gegeo commended the National Government, Malaita Provincial Government and the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority for their support towards the project. He added that the Resource Owners are all united in their stand to develop the Hydro project and this will also send a signal to all communities in Malaita that developments can be possible, Mr Gegeo added.
By LESLEY SANGA