Gov’t to invest in its foreign missions

By Gary Hatigeva

WITH its passing, the government will invest in the operations and construction of its foreign offices.

Highlighted in the summary of strategic action under its priority policies through the ministry of foreign affairs and external trade (MFAET), the government has outlined an allocation of $1.6 million from its fiscal budget for the construction of its Suva Chancery Office complex.

The SIDCC government believes work will not complete fully within their short stay in office and therefore established a long term policy framework of two years for the construction of the complex and expects any new government will carry on with the project to its completion in 2020.

The government has also outlined another allocation of $5 million for its London operation and its payroll, while a total of $440,000 will be engineered to other missions operational and their payrolls.

In its policy objectives, the SIDCC government highlighted the recognition and values the importance of peaceful co-existence with Solomon’s regional and international partners to promote trade, economic and foreign relations, which officials say needs further strengthening.

Officials explained that the strengthening programme will be done through the review of existing bilateral cooperation agreements to reflect current national interests and priorities, which also comes as a key priority area for the government to deal with before their term ends.

The government is also looking to explore greater opportunities through the South-South and North-South cooperation, while also actively participating in international and regional meetings to ensure benefits from membership in these organisations are maximised.

Amongst the number of Solomon’s high commission offices and chancery, the London mission is the latest addition, which was opened last year.

The government then under the leadership of former Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare opened the country’s London mission amid concerns at home that the country cannot afford it.

However, after opening its office, the DCC government then said it believed the mission’s establishment would increase Solomon Islands ability to explore opportunities for economic development in the United Kingdom and across Europe and this is something the Hounipwela-led government chose to take on, and ensure it is fully operational.

As for the Solomon Islands Chancery Office in Fiji, the $1.5 million allocation should enable the beginning phase construction at the site, located at Muanikau Road, Laucala Beach.

The portion of land was approved by the Government of Fiji and would also accommodate the Papua New Guinea and the Vanuatu Chancery buildings. at the site, located   Muanikau Road, Laucala Beach.

The Solomon Islands Chancery is currently located at Downtown Boulevard in Suva.

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