Veo lauds SIG, World Bank and key partners for delivery of Munda airport

BY NED GAGAHE

PREMIER of Western Province Billy Veo has acknowledged, World Bank, Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP) and the traditional donor partners for the delivery of the Munda airport, saying that the national government’s prioritization of the project is a step towards the right direction to equally distribute development across all provinces and minimize urban drift.

Veo was joined by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, World Bank Resident Representative to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Annette Leith, Minister of Communication and Aviation Peter Shanel Agovaka, and hundreds of residents of Munda and surrounding communities to witness the historic handing over of the Munda International airport on Tuesday.

“I believe it is the right step in the right direction to distribute development across all provinces rather than centralizing all economic activities and infrastructures in Honiara.

“We have been complaining about the increase in illegal settlements in Honiara and its outskirts, the proportionate increase in unemployment, crime and not forgetting disproportionate service delivery outputs.

The Premier said by equitably distributing development, “we can minimize urban drift by providing economic opportunities for our rural people so that they can utilize their own resources to benefit themselves and their respective communities.

Premier Veo expressed deep appreciation to World Bank for the provision of resources and funds to support the project.

He said the World Bank’s continuous support and assistance over the years has played a huge part in Solomon Islands development agenda.

“While we aspire for progress. we also understand our shortcomings. We look forward to your continuous support and interactions into the future

“Special thanks are also due to the key government implementing Ministries- MOFT, MCA, MID as well as the World Bank Group Team for agreeing on the SIRAP 2 component of around USD$89M.

“The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Mr. McKinnie Dentana is acknowledged for leading and successfully negotiating the terms of the funding agreement.

Veo also expressed sincere gratitude saying that Solomon Islands have been enjoying continues cordial relationship with our traditional donor partners such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and others over the years.

“Of course, it would be amiss on my government’s part if we do not acknowledge the continuous cordial working relationship and support that we have been enjoying with our traditional donor partners over the years – The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and others.

“Solomon Islands development journey has not been a ‘lone’ one but one built on the legacy of Pacific colonization and forged through the chronicles of World War 2. The recent upheavals experienced by Solomon Islands in the not-too-distant past continue to provide opportunities for meaningful interventions and assistance in ensuring a stable and peaceful South Pacific region.

“It is very pleasing to note that even given the changing dynamics of geopolitics, we continue to strengthen and enhance our traditional relationships through our development agenda as true friends and partners. We will continue to honour and respect our long-held values and ideals.

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