BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
THE Japan’s government sealed an agreement with the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) through a signing for the extension of the Kukum Highway phase-two project.
The first phase of this project was signed and implemented on May 26, 2015 and concluded on December 5, 2018. This phase-one of the project include the improvement of highways, bus bays, crossings, overhead bridges and underground tunnels.
Speaking at the signing ceremony yesterday Japan’s Ambassador to Solomon Islands Morimoto Yasuhiro said the signing of the Kukum highway phase-two project is a significant event and a milestone in the ongoing cordial bilateral relationship between Solomon Islands and Japan.
“I am pleased to sign the EN today after the approval of the cabinet of Japan last month. The government of Japan decided a grant up to three billion one hundred and Fifty-nine million Japanese Yen (Y3, 159,000,000), approximately 243.6 million Solomon Dollars, for the construction and supervision works.
“The Kukum Highway Phase two project is the continuation from the where Kukum Highway Phase one ended. The project will cover the 6.5 kilometres road from the Ministry of Fisheries to Honiara International Airport. The project component will include 4.3 kilometres of four-lane road to Lunga Bridge and two kilometres of two lane road from Lunga Bridge to the airport. Ancillaries to the road project are, the drainage systems, bus stations, street lights, traffic sign boards and pavement markings. The project time-line will be 24 months and it is expected to complete by June 2023.
“I would like to highly commend all those who have been involved in the preparatory works and the design finalization on both sides of our two countries. Despite the difficulties cause by the global pandemic Covid-19 you have worked untiringly and made all efforts into promoting and meeting deadlines to ensure the signing today (yesterday) possible,” said Yasuhiro.
Minister for MFAET Jeremiah Manele in response said the signing ceremony is another validation between the two countries.
“The signing of the Exchange of notes and the grant agreement of the Kukum Highway phase two projects with the government of Japan, signifies another milestone of the partnership, engagement and cooperation between our two countries.
“I wish to acknowledge the government of Japan’s grant of three billion, one hundred fifty-nine million Japanese Yen, which is equivalent to more than SBD243 million for phase II of the Kukum Highway project.
“The duration of the project for construction is 24 months. Excellency, I wish to reassure you of the commitment by the Solomon Islands government to working closely with your government to successfully implement the project. Despite the impact of COVID-19, we remain committed in ensuring this national project commences and is completed schedule.”