Ministry of Communication and Aviation to diverts funds earmarked for Malaita Projects
-Suidani led-government rejects $31.7-US million dollars World Bank funding support because of China Habour Engineering firm’s involvement.
-Ministry of Communication and Aviation submits cabinet papers to divert the rejected funds
The Ministry of Communication and Aviation has re-diverted the 31.7-US million dollars World Bank funding earmarked for various projects in Malaita Province to the Ministry.
The fund was re-diverted after the province refused to allow the China Harbour Engineering Firm to work on the projects.
Minister for Communication and Aviation Hon Peter Shanel Angovaka says his Ministry is working on a cabinet paper to inform the cabinet on the decision.
However, Mr Angovaka clarifies that contracting the China Harbour Engineering firm was done by the World Bank and not the Solomon Islands government.
“The provincial government made their views clear in not wanting a Chinese operating in Maliata when a consultation was held with the provincial government and the ministry of communication and Aviation, Ministry of Infrastructure and Development and the Ministry Finance and Treasury,” he said.
Mr. Angovaka says the Chinese company called into question China Engineering Harbor won the bid because it is a world-class company.
He says it is sad to see the Malaita Executive headed by Premier Sudani rejected the company as the project was funded by World Bank.
“The tendering process is done according to World Bank standards and not the government’s process, a cabinet paper has now been brought before cabinet to have the 31.7 million dollars funds withdrawn from Malaita and back to the airport,” he says.
The 31.7 million US dollars was allocated by the ministry of communication and aviation to build the Auki Township roads and repair bridges in North Malaita.
“The funds were aimed to have Auki township roads tar sealed, the road from Auki town to Guanaru Airport, the new Fiu bridge and three new bridges up the North Malaita road,” he says.
Mr. Angovaka adds the funds were first given to Malaita province due to the need that Auki needed such development projects.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader and MP for Auki Langalanga constituency Hon. Matthew Wale says it is disappointing to note that the government has decided to withhold the fund.
“It is disappointing as a national leader and also a Malaitan leader that the Minister of Communication and Aviation decided to withdraw the funds from the project as its course of action, hopefully, other cabinet ministers decide against this course of action.”
Hon Wale says the reason the Chinese company was rejected was due to China Harbour Engineering Firm was the only bidder and that their bidding price was above the price of the world bank project, also other problems with the bid documents saw the tender committee stating that the company was disqualified due to non-compliance in some of its bidding process.
“It is totally unreasonable and an overreaction on the ministries side to totally pull out the whole project from Malaita province. The tender process of the whole project was frustrated from the beginning because the Chinese company hasn’t been awarded the project,” he says.
Hon Wale says the ministry should go back to the tendering process and have more companies bid for the project.
The fact that Malaita doesn’t want a Chinese company operating there should also be factored into the whole tendering process as that issue has been known for a long time.
by Sharon Nanau & Charley Piringi