Western Provincial Premier Hon. Billy Veo has highlighted three prerequisites for Statehood from the perspective of the Western Provincial Government today (03/04/2023) at the Official opening of the Premiers consultation meeting on the draft Federal Constitution in Gizo.
The country’s nine Provincial Premiers including the Deputy Mayor of Honiara City Council are in Gizo this week for a 4 days meeting to deliberate and express views on the draft Federal Constitution facilitated by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet with support from the Ministry of Provincial Governments and Institutional Strengthening.
Premier Veo said in order for statehood to be realized, proper preparation towards adopting the state system is paramount and this includes strengthening the economic foundation of provinces which included serious infrastructure development, human resource development and meaningful investment in productive sectors to provide an enabling environment for investment in the provinces.
The Premier further outlined that in order to venture into this direction, Western Province strongly believed that the three main ingredients required to prepare the Province for Statehood includes heavy investment in human resources not only to govern but to participate as technical experts, social and economic experts and legislative and executive experts.
In Addition, Premier Veo said proper management of Land and Natural Resources is vital for economic development in Western Province.
In Western Province, around 27 percent of land is alienated which the Premier expressed the need for alienated lands to be returned to the Provincial Government to take control over and to prepare the lands for its development aspirations.
The third important pillar for achieving statehood, according to the Premier is financial resources, which provinces must have in order to manage their state affairs and development ambitions.
“This is why people, land and financial resources are important foundations for economic development because without them we will not be able to further any of our aspirations,” he said.
Premier Veo acknowledged the National Government through the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for providing the opportunity for Provincial leaders to sit down with technical experts to discuss the draft document this week so that leaders can fully understand the features, challenges, implications and ways forward for implementing the federal constitution to realize the statehood agenda.