Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was the guest of honour at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Commodities Export Marketing Authority Buying Centre and Refinery Mill at Noro, Western Province, yesterday.
The CEMA Project is one of DCGA’s flagship projects.
Addressing guests invited to witness the historic launching, Sogavare said the event marks a significant milestone in the revitalisation of CEMA.
“Since its inception in the 80s to replace the copra and cocoa board, CEMA has engaged in both its regulatory and commercial functions as provided for by the Commodities Export Marketing Authority Act,” Sogavare said.
“It provided services to our people in the rural areas and subsidised certain commercial activities to stimulate economic growth and development in the rural areas,” he added.
The much-vaunted Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) of the late 90s saw the demise of CEMA and other statutory bodies.
It also saw the abolishment of the government Public Works Department, and the deregulation of the Livestock Development Authority and others.
Consequently, the Government embarked on revitalising CEMA to its previous form.
“Today, I am indeed humbled to bear witness to the revitalisation of CEMA and the manifestation of government policy.
“It was only some months ago that I launched the CEMA strategic plan in Honiara. Today we witness this strategic plan being rolled out.”
In terms of achievements since Launching on May 31st 2021;
- CEMA signed MoA with SIG (MCILI, MALD & MID) for funding support of SBD$77m towards the seven-year revitalization and recapitalization strategy 2021 – 2027.
- SIG funding – MCILI and MID funding support for 2021 revitalization program and activities has been received from MoFT.
- CEMA signed a MoA with Central Islands Provincial Government to secure in Tulagi for the Refinery – downstream processing facilities establishment in Central Islands stating June 2022. Assessment of the land was completed with Hakama livestock establishment.
- CEMA signed a five-year lease agreement (2021 – 2025) with Pakera Enterprises at Pakera, Makira Ulawa Province to reestablish the buying center and a crushing mill.
- Completed physical assessments and bills of quantity of the Provincial buying centers in Noro, Pakera, Malu’u, Buala, Tarokukure, Lata and Tulagi.
- CEMA completed consultations with the following Provincial Governments on the CEMA reestablishment in the Provinces – Makira Ulawa, Malaita, Western, Choiseul, Temotu and Central Islands.
Key challenges include availability of land in the Provinces to re-establish Provincial buying centers; Socio-economic and Political stability; Timely availability of funds to implement and complete the strategy according to schedule; Quality assurance standards – ISO 17025 & 9000 standards; Rebuilding CEMA’s capacity.
Plantations salinity – replanting of coconut, cocoa, kava and other commodities are other challenges.
Prime Minister Sogavare said, Priority Activities are the reconstruction and repairs work on four buying centers at Pakera, Malu’u, Buala and Tarakukure to commence this month December 2021.
These centers are scheduled to open by February 2022 for commencing purchasing of key commodities – copra, cocoa, kava, spices, bech demer, sea weed and others.
Land site preparations at Noro and Tulagi for the refineries, including the Malu’u, Pakera, Gojoruru, Tarakukure and Lata for crushing mills reestablishment.
Prime Minister Sogavare adds, the government and CEMA fully commit to serving Solomon Islanders.
He thanked the landowners for allowing their land for the project and thanks the CEMA Cabinet sub-committee, CEMA Board, CEMA Management and workers, Government ministries and others who have worked tirelessly to where the project reaches today.