THE Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) describes the recent site visit to the Honiara International Airport Improvement Project by Civil Engineering students from the National University (SINU) as a positive step forward in its continuous effort to realize local participation in major infrastructure projects in the country going into the future.
SICCI acknowledges Gyros and Kitano Construction Cooperation and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Solomon Islands for this initiative which is understood to be one of the positive outcomes of a recent Infrastructure Symposium the Chamber hosted which brought together key stakeholders in the infrastructure development sector.
“At the Symposium, I and my colleague presented a brief introduction about this Airport Project and informed the participants of an intention that the project member would be planning to hold a site observation tour for students who are learning civil engineering in Solomon Islands.
Today (Tuesday 16 November) we made it a reality,” Motoyuki Uegaki, Resident Representative of JICA, said.
At the Symposium, Mr Uegaki said the issue their Projects are facing is a shortage of Engineers or Technicians in specific construction area in the local market and that job training is the most important factor for the future Employment Promotion through Public – Private Cooperation.
During this week’s site visit, he uttered that it is a bit hard to find enough resources who are able to provide a certain level of engineering knowledge and skills in the country, however, recognize that these students will be crucial engineers who will be able to drive the infrastructure development of Solomon Islands in the near future.
Project Manager Takeshi Iwasaki, of Kitano Construction, said: “Solomon Islands needs the participation of young people in the task of nation building.
While we are making good quality things, nurturing of local workers is also our important objective.
In line with this, I am looking forward that many engineers will be trained among you for the future development of Solomon Islands.”
SICCI maintains that we can maximise the benefits of infrastructure spending in the country if there are policies and regulations in place to promote local content.
“Focusing on maximizing local content ensures that local workers have a job that will lead to skills development and transfer.
“Not only that but local suppliers will also have an opportunity to grow in the market, and local companies will develop and contribute to revenue that remains in the country and promotes the standards of local private sector,” a SICCI statement said.
One of the outcomes of the Infrastructure Symposium in October was to get an overview of infrastructure projects across the country and to gauge its impact on the local economy.
The Honiara International Airport Improvement Project is one such project which is a $340 million Japanese Government funding that will add tremendous value to the economy.
The project is scheduled to be completed by 2023, just in time to cater for the anticipated increased demand of people arriving in July 2023, when Solomon Islands host the 2023 Pacific Games.
The completion of the Airport Project will coincide with the completion of another major infrastructure project funded and built by the Government of Japan, the second phase of the Kukum highway project.