SBD$1.5 billion Infrastructure Subsidiary Agreement signed

Australian High Commissioner Dr. Lachlan Strahan and Minister for Aid Coordination, Rex Ramofafia

The Solomon Islands and Australian governments have signed a ten-year 250-million Australian dollars (SBD 1.5 billion ) Subsidiary Agreement for an Infrastructure Development Program in the country.

The Program will focus on infrastructure developments, climate change, and disaster resilience areas.

Speaking during the signing, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says, the program is timely as it will support the country in its post-COVID-19 recovery period.

“I believe that the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program is a transformative initiative and a game-changer that holds a lot of potentials to facilitate and further advance socio-economic development in the Solomon Islands”.

“I urge all stakeholders to ensure that implementation will be effective, efficient, and responsive to the context and needs of Solomon Islands.” 

Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency Dr. Lachlan Strahan says, the program will assist in building a stronger and resilient economy for the Solomon Islands.

Dr. Strahan pledged that the Program will strive to deliver high-quality, inclusive, accessible, durable, and sustainable economic infrastructure projects over the next ten years.

He says SIIP would build structures that are climate and disaster-resilient, respect local communities and environments that are squarely decided by priorities of the Solomon Islands Government.

“SIIP will deliver big projects but also smaller projects that are locally led and driven by community needs,” said Dr. Strahan.

The launch of SIIP follows the recent announcement of an SBD180 million partnership between Solomon Power and the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific to finance the Tina River electricity transmission system. 

Meanwhile, the Australian Government also signed a Delegated Cooperation Arrangement with the New Zealand High Commission to deliver the infrastructure project under the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Projects (SIIP).

Government Officials together with Australia and New Zealand High Commissioners. Photo: Australian High Commission office

Under the SIIP Project, the New Zealand government will work on upgrading the Seghe and Taro provincial airfields which Australia has committed SBD110 million.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Georgina Roberts says the collaborative approach is an example of “Kotahitanga” – different partners coming together with a common purpose to support the Solomon Islands with its goals.

Australian High Commissioner, Dr. Lachlan Strahan says, Connectivity is fundamentally important in driving development as transport links are critical.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation Moses Virivolomo says, the government has recently passed a policy to purchase provincial airports to make way for upgrade works.

“The Projects will upgrade the Taro and Seghe Airstrips, and later Later and Suavanao airstrips.” 

by Charley Piringi

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