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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

SIG allocates two million dollars for Palm Oil development project on Malaita

By Deli Oso

The Solomon Islands government has allocated SI$2 million for the Auluta Palm Oil development project in East Malaita for 2007 alone.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock announced the allocation in Parliament yesterday morning when asked to inform the house on the progress of the Malaita palm oil project.

Toswell Kaua said the government was committed and serious to see the project kicked-off the ground.

“The government has shown its commitment by allocating a budget of SI$2m for 2007 and is working in partnership with Malaita Province and Resource owners of the project area. The Auluta Palm Oil project was a priority project not only for the project area but Malaita Province and Solomon Islands as a whole.”

The Minister said Cabinet had also approved a special fund of SI$300,000 for the Trust Board of the Auluta Palm Oil project to assist tribal registration and other related activities.

Mr Kaua said 37 tribal lands were recorded and of that 23 were dispute-free and were ready to be surveyed and registered.

He said the 23 dispute-free tribes had now appointed tribal trust boards and were awaiting gazetting of subsidiary regulations under the Customary Land Recording Act to allow the boards to be legal entities representing landowning groups.

“The subsidiary regulations had been drafted and are now with the AG chambers for vetting and gazetting,” Mr Kaua said.

He said the survey would be launched on the 17th of the month and that event would be an important occasion for tribal leaders to sign survey documents giving consent to the government to survey their lands and further see the registration of their lands for development.

Minister Kaua said his department is optimistic that the survey would be completed in April and an investor be identified by then so the groundbreaking ceremony would go ahead in June as anticipated.

Source: GCU

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