161 Towers Project kicks off
The project to construct 161 towers in and around the country has begun with the Prime Minister taking part in the ground- breaking ceremony today at Sali, in North Guadalcanal, Guadalcanal Province.
Today’s launch is a manifestation of DCGA’s hard work and determination towards achieving the country’s National Development Strategy- “to improve the Social and Economic Livelihoods of all Solomon Islanders.”
The project, Solomon Islands National Broadband Infrastructure Project (SINBIP) begins its rollout from Guadalcanal to Central and Isabel Provinces. It is anticipated that 25- 30 towers will be fully constructed and operational before the Pacific Games in November.
With the completion of the project, it is expected that 80 percent of the population will access 3G and 4G network and broadband internet services.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare who was the guest of honor at the groundbreaking ceremony described the undertaking as a transformative project.
PM Sogavare added that it is the policy of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement to build more infrastructures that are transformative in nature.
The Prime Minister stated that SINBID’s objectives are to; improve the mobile network coverage and information development, improve telecommunications network infrastructure and promote national economic and social developments, and narrow the digital divide and implement UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
PM Sogavare revealed that an independent financial review of the SINBIP shows an 8.86 percent (above benchmark 8%) internal rate of return and financial net present value about CNY 495.6 million.
He further revealed that this indicates the project will have good direct economic benefits. Adding that “…static investment recovery period is 10.97 and the dynamic investment recovery period is 11.4 years…” a positive indication that the project can recover its full investments.
“The project would generate sufficient revenues for the Government to fully repay both the principal loan amount and interest costs within the loan period,” Prime Minister Sogavare said with confidence.
The Prime Minister further outlined the benefits of the project, saying, it will contribute to the economic and social development, improving labor productivity, promoting education and health and national civilization.
This is a historical financial partnership between the Solomon Islands Government and the People’s Republic of China.
In concluding his speech the PM stressed that “all we want is development, and at the top of our development agenda is infrastructure.
The Prime Minister highlighted that “this government will do whatever it can and however it can to secure the future of our beloved country and people. We will continue to engage with The People’s Republic of China and whoever is willing to engage with us to further our development aspirations”.
PM Sogavare further reaffirmed that “…we will not be deterred by misinformation such as debt traps. No amount of fear mongering will distract us from our march towards a better and brighter future for our people”.
The Prime Minister underscored the foreign policy of “friends to all and enemies to none” and extended an invitation to all development partners to intensify engagement, collaboration and cooperation so that Solomon Islands can achieve its 2030 agenda.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat