BY GEORGINA KEKEA
THE Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) has put on hold, four capital infrastructure projects. The projects were put on hold in order for the government to under-take its multi-million dollar undertaking of the 2023 Pacific Games.
In the Minister’s 2019 Budget speech, Finance Minister, Manasseh Sogavare said major priority between now and 2023 is the securing of funds to finance the games facilities and the games operational costs.
Sogavare says the projects on hold includes residence of the Prime Minister, the Justice Precinct, the IPAM building and the Ministry of Environment building.
“It is the intent to consider these infrastructure priorities during the 2020 Appropriation Bill”, Sogavare said.
Sogavare said the Pacific Games Council had advised government that it needs to reflect in its budget on an annual basis between now and 2023 adequate allocations that will demonstrate government’s ability to deliver on its commitment to host the Pacific Games.
“Sir, this is the first time the Government will host the Pacific Games. The requirement for facilities for the games such as stadiums, tracks, fields, swing pools, venues for water sports, etc. are a lot more than those required for mini games. The number of sports is a lot more than for mini-games. We are also trying to negotiate the inclusion of Futsal and Beach Soccer as these are now Pacific-wide sports that Solomon Islands have good opportunities to perform well on. This means government needs to reflect its commitment and ability to finance the games”, Sogavare told parliament.
He said it is crucial that SIG demonstrates its commitment and capability through a substantive budget allocation in the 2019 budget for the PG 2023.
Sogavare says, preparatory works on the PG2023 by the cabinet set up bodies had been concluded and the PG2023 Act 2018 had been brought into operation effective 26th October 2018.
“National Hosting Authority members will be appointed by the end of this month and preparations are already underway for it to host its inaugural meeting on the sixth and seventh December 2018”, Sogavare says.