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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Government eyes more wharves for provinces

By Moffat Mamu

Twenty three new wharves will be built in eight provinces around the country by the national government starting next year. This was highlighted in the recently launched National Transport Plan (NTP).

The plan was the centre of discussions yesterday in day two of the Rural Development Strategy forum attended by premiers, provincial secretaries and provincial planning officers in Honiara. Under the section Maritime Transport Services, the government stated that it is prepared to develop and build 23 new wharves in eight of the nine provinces. The estimated cost of constructing these wharves is $85 million.

The government said the need to construct these wharves followed an analysis of passenger and cargo demand, wharf condition, the proximity of neighbouring wharves and the availability of road connections.

The following locations are considered to be the highest priority locations for the new wharves:

1. Choiseul Province - Taro, Katurasele and Posarae
2. Western Province - Munda Lambete, Ughele, Viru, Gasini and Bunikalo
3. Isabel Province - Kia, Tatamba and Susubona
4. Central Islands Province - Taroniara and Siota
5. Malaita Province - Fanalei, Malu’u, Suava Bay and N’usi
6. Guadalcanal Province - Marau
7. Makira-Ulawa Province - Kirakira, Marou Bay, Hadja and Star Harbour
9. Temotu Province - Mohawk Bay.

The national government said the NTP would be the centre of the government’s strategic framework for rural development. Minister of Infrastructure Development Stanley Sofu said the plan should provide the strategic framework for achieving the government’s objective.

Mr Sofu said the government’s objective was to provide an effective transport infrastructure and transport services to support sustained economic growth and social development. He said maintenance funding would be substantially increased by the government from 2007 to meet maintenance needs.

Participants in the Rural Development Strategy forum spent yesterday discussing the importance of improved infrastructure and transport services. They were told that the quality and efficiency of transportation has a significant impact on economic and social welfare. Not only that but the development and management of a reliable, appropriate, sustainable and affordable transport sector in Solomon Islands is essential for economic development and the delivery of services to all parts of the country. For these reasons the national government had placed transport as a priority of its rural development strategy.

Source: Solomon Star

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