The Makira Ulawa Provincial township expansion project is set to commence following the presentation of a $2.9 million cheque as final payment for a 30.904 hectares of new land for the project implementation.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare presented the cheque during theMakira Ulawa 32nd Second Appointed Day Monday this week.
A government statement said the new area is situated between the Kirakira airport and the current Provincial township.
Handing over the cheque, the Prime Minister also declared that the proposed expanded township will be called ‘SS Mamaloni Town’ after the famous national political leader from Makira-Ulawa Province, Late Solomon Sunaone Mamaloni.
Prime Minister Sogavare expressed gratitude to the landowners for their willingness and foresight in allowing their land for the township expansion project.
He said customary land is particularly a difficult issue to settle, but landowners of the township expansion project site have proven that land dispute cannot be a barrier to development if landowners themselves feel the need to provide their resources for development that are beneficial to themselves and the entire community.
Prime Minister Sogavare was the guest of honour during the Makira UlawaProvincial Second Appointed Day celebrations.
Meanwhile, the landowners’ representative Chief Eric Waisi said he was pleased with the Government’s commitment to honour the understanding reached for the payment of their land.
Chief Waisi said it took them 15 years to negotiate the customary land purchase with the provincial government, but it took the DCCGovernment less than seven months in Office to seal the negotiation.
He said the land is not a simple issue to deal with, adding that many development initiatives in the country have been hampered by land disputes.
Mr Waisi said he is pleased that they have not allowed such disputes to deprive them of benefiting from the development of their land.