BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SOLOMON Water (SW) had celebrated its 25th Anniversary last week.
Despite approaching a state of collapse early 2000 leading to 2010, Chairman of Solomon Water Phil Bradford assured they are now standing on their feet.
Political instability, poor governance, lack of investment in infrastructure and poor organisational capacity nearly plunged Solomon Water into bankruptcy,
In 2010, the government of Solomon Islands intervened to stabilize the company and assist its performance.
A bilateral agreement between the Government of Solomon Islands and Australia was established in 2011 to improve the economic infrastructure of Solomon Water and it began the long road to recovery.
Under the recovery and action plan program which also included further JICA support, the quality of water supply has improved in the country.
“We’ve got a good future, 8 years ago we had Board members being actually scared as it was a bankrupt institution. We are certainly not in that position now but we’ve got a long way to go,” reminded Bradford.
“We are making small profits each year, we are starting to do some of our own upgrades but we still need our donors. We recognise and acknowledge the efforts of both JICA and DFAT because without them, we could have not gone far from where we are today.”
“When I came and took over we were losing over a million dollars a month, but now we are starting to make profits. 2013 was 70 Million and by 2017, we have made a hundred million. It is not a lot of money in some people’s minds but every single penny we can afford has been reinvested in many ways.”
Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Mines, Energy & Rural Electrification Jeffrey Deve praised Solomon Water despite facing many challenges and difficulties, through their management they have managed to turn around since 2010.
He said significant changes has resulted financial stability.
He added that the turnaround in performance by SW over recent years were made possible by support from development partners in which he acknowledged ADB, DFAT and JICA who helped enable SW to revitalize.
“We assure you of our continuous government support,” reminded the PS.
The General Manager for SW Mr Ian Gooding during the celebration thanked his Staff for their continuous hard work.
“I am very proud, I appreciate the commitment and dedication, I thank the government and donors support and I also thank our Board of Directors,” said Gooding.