DEPUTY Prime Minister & Finance Minister Manasseh Sogavare has acknowledged the valuable contributions by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Solomon Islands.
Speaking during a welcome gathering at the Mendana Hotel on Monday night, Mr Sogavare said Solomon Islands has come a long way and has endured hurdles, but slowly and surely making headways.
Sogavare said Solomon Islands has 45 years of sustained partnerships and appreciate ADB’s financing, technical assistance, policy advice, and willingness to respond to the country’s needs.
He said the establishment of the ADB in-country office and many infrastructure developments are a clear and tangible demonstration of this relationship.
“Some benefits that SI has received from the ADB include the transport infrastructure development projects in the areas of roads , bridges and wharves as well as subsidised shipping routes to catalyse socio-economic activities to some of the most remote and uneconomical routes resulting in differences in the many rural people’s lives,” he said.
The deputy Prime Minister said the scaling up in financing is welcomed.
However, he said given the country’s huge development needs, the financing gap remain large.
“We welcome the bank’s continued efforts to increase financing,” he said.
He said concessional financing is also very important for Solomon Islands.
“Given the fragility and vulnerability, increasing debt burden will expose the country to higher economic and financial risks. Yet, given the lack of basic infrastructure and services for the majority of the people, Solomon Islands need invest and grow in infrastructure, services, social spending, and disaster risk management. All these require large amount of concessional financing,” he said.
The Finance Minister also ADB’s support to reforms undertaken by the Government.
He said ADB’s support has enabled Solomon Islands to implement continuous reforms to provide an enabling environment to the private sector and improve public financial management.
The deputy Prime Minister has also acknowledged the technical and capacity support rendered by ADB especially on preparatory work for the National Referral Hospital relocation project.