Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today signed Exchange Notes and a Grant Agreement with the Japanese Government for detailed design work on the proposed Japanese Government-funded Kukum Highway project.
Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Morio Matsumoto and the Japanese International Corporation representative in Honiara, Mr Shigeru Sugiyama signed the Exchange Notes with the Prime Minister.
A government statement today says the detailed design work to commence in January 2015 is the first component of the proposed road upgrade project.
Tokyo is availing a total of SBD$6-Million for this initial component.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Paul Tovua Parliamentarians’ Office Complex, the Japanese Ambassador says the occasion marks the beginning of a new partnership for Solomon Islands and Japan following the formation of a new Solomon Islands Government.
His Excellency Matsumoto says this project could become a symbolic token of friendship between Solomon Islands and Japan.
He says after the completion of the initial detailed design phase in mid-2015, they would expect another signing of Exchange Notes and Grant Agreement for the main construction work.
Meanwhile in his response, Prime Minister Sogavare expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands to the Government and people of Japan for their generosity in investing in Solomon Islands through various projects.
He says Solomon Islands and Japan have a strong relationship spanning over 36 years.
Mr Sogavare adds Japan was one of the first countries which Solomon Islands as a newly independent nation established diplomatic ties within 1978 and remains an outstanding and committed development partner.
He says the Kukum Highway Upgrade Project is of great importance, considering the increasing pressure placed on Honiara’s limited infrastructure by its growing population.
The Prime Minister says with the signing for this project, there is hope that traffic difficulties in Honiara will be relatively eased as it will ensure pavement of the Kukum Highway and building of two bridges over the Mataniko River.
He also acknowledged the Japanese Government’s contribution to Solomon Islands socio-economic development through the Japanese International Corporation Agency.
Japan-funded projects in Solomon Islands included the Honiara International Airport Restoration, Bridges Reconstruction in East Guadalcanal and Honiara Seaport Facilities Improvement.