PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare today has witnessed the signing of the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) between the Solomon Islands and Australian Governments.
The signing took place at the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (OPMC) by the Minister of Planning and Development Coordination Hon Rexon Ramofafia and the Australian High Commissioner His Excellency Dr Lachlan Strahan.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Prime Minister said the SIIP was one of the landmark partnership-projects that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and himself have committed to in their Joint Statement during Morrison’s visit to Solomon Islands in 2019.
“Just over 2 years ago, on June 3, 2019, I with my delegation met with Prime Minister Morrison and his delegation in this very room to discuss and reaffirm each other’s commitment to further strengthen our bilateral relations,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the signing marks another important milestone in the partnership with Australia.
Prime Minister Sogavare said infrastructure is an important determinant and enabler of development.
He said investments in infrastructure generate multiplier effects in all sectors – which drive economic growth.
“No country can achieve good economic development without adequate investment in good quality infrastructure that is durable and is of low maintenance,” he said.
The Prime Minister said for a geographically dispersed Small Island Developing State like Solomon Islands, quality and resilient infrastructure ensures safety for our people.
He said it also enhances connectivity and facilitate access to goods and services.
“In these times of unprecedented challenge, emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program is a welcome initiative that will contribute immediate benefits to our people through employment creation. It will also contribute to medium and long-term recovery in the post Covid-19 era,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the SIIP is a policy strengthening, capacity enhancement, financing and leveraging partnership program between the SIG and the government of Australia that seeks to deliver on the most important infrastructure priorities of the Solomon Islands Government.
He said the SIIP is a transformative and game changing infrastructure initiative that will set a new platform for infrastructure planning and development in Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Sogavare also thanked the Australian Government for the ongoing partnership and the support provided to help the socio-economic development aspirations of Solomon Islands.