Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced a number of major infrastructure developments for Makira Ulawa Province during celebrations commemorating the Province’s 38th Second Appointed Day in Kirakira today (Thursday 5).
In his keynote address, Sogavare reiterated the importance of infrastructure to promote economic development within the Province – saying the National Government is seriously working on actions to drive infrastructure development in the Province.
While agreeing to the notion that infrastructure is vital for development, Sogavare acknowledged that agreeing alone is not sufficient and what everyone need is action.
With this commitment, the Government through the Ministry of Infrastructure Development through the Central Tender Board (CTB) on April 29 this year awarded an emergency maintenance contract to Trades Transformation Company Ltd to carryout emergency works on the Makira unsealed coastal roads.
This road network runs eastwards from Kirakira to Rawo and westwards from Kirakira to Wango covering a total of 69km.
Contract for this emergency project totaling $5.9 million was already mobilized on site in late May this year. This is funded under the SIG Development Budget under the Economic Infrastructure Program (EIR).
In regards to the new Kirakira Wharf, Prime Minister Sogavare said constructing a sustainable wharf at Kirakira to serve the interests of business houses and the travelling public to and from Kirakira is vital.
The Kirakira wharf is part of the Land and Maritime connectivity Project (LMCP). Design and bidding documents for this project including the rest of the maritime package including the Kirakira wharf was compiled in May 2021 while the procurement of the Construction Supervision firm has been completed.
Currently a contract negotiation with the selected firm is in progress, which will complete by mid – August 2021. Bidding process for selection of the construction contractor for the wharf will start in October at a total cost of more than SBD21.9 million.
In regards to the Rawo and Warihito Bridges, the Prime Minister noted the Makira Provincial Government’s concern on the need to construct the Rawo and Warihoto bridges.
These two bridges are considered strategic to support cocoa farmers in that area to boost cocoa production.
“I am pleased to inform you and my good people of Makira that these two bridges are in the government’s plan for 2022 and 2023,” Sogavare said.
Another important infrastructure project is the tar sealing of the Ngorangora Airport, which the Prime Minister said, was listed for the second phase of the current airport tar-sealing program.
However, because the government does not own the land of interest – development partners are not comfortable in funding any proposed project on that land.
Because of this, the government will soon consider a policy for the outright purchase of lands where strategic infrastructures are constructed. Once this policy is approved, the government will consider outright purchase of the land of interest at Ngorangora.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Communication and Aviation is preparing to tender the re-grassing and re-gravelling of the airport.
The other major infrastructure project for Makira is the Waimasi Growth Center which the Government appreciates a concept requested by the Province as a strategic concept that will link the cocoa belt from Warihito to Wango.
“Considering its strategic nature, this is a concept that we must work together to realize and can be considered under the ongoing redirection and reprioritization policy of the government under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement,” Sogavare said.
With regards to the Kirakira Hospital, Prime Minister Sogavare agreed the that the location of the current Kirakira Hospital is vulnerable to inundation due to sea level rise since it is positioned below sea level and must be relocated.
Sogavare said the National Government noted this Kirakira hospital issue and will look into addressing.
Meanwhile, Makira Premier Julian Maka’a has praised Prime Minister Sogavare and his delegation for gracing the Province’s 38th Second Appointed Day celebration.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Makira Ulawa Province concludes on Friday 6 August.