Western and Isabel Provincial Government Executive pays courtesy call on Acting PM

Western and Isabel Provincial Government Executive pays courtesy call on Acting PM


Provincial Leaders of Western and Isabel Province took turns to pay courtesy calls on the Acting Prime Minister, Honourable Bradley Tovosia, on June 26th last week.

The meeting coordinated by the Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Rural Electrification (MMERE) provides an opportunity for the provincial leaders to meet with the Acting PM, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mines and Energy, highlighting key issues; the reviewed mining act, the emerging energy sector and its business dynamics, mining licensing and royalty payment processes, and addressing clean water accessibility.

Premier Honourable Billy Veo of Western Province highlights his executives’ significant efforts in the energy sector, including the establishment of petroleum and diesel distribution centers and their provision of island services.

Premier Veo revealed his government’s taskforce to address concerns in the energy sector and the views of resource owners being captured in the Mineral Resources Bill 2023.

He highlighted their plans to work in close collaboration with the water resource entities to solve Gizo township challenges to accessing clean water.

The Western executive members also highlighted their plans for feasibility studies to determine the potential of geothermal energy in the Western Solomon Islands.

Other issues highlighted include the roadmap to adopt a state, for which Premier Veo reiterates their ‘non-negotiable’ stance and will push for its full implementation.

PM (Ag) Hon. Tovosia, who is also the Minister of MMERE, acknowledged concerns raised by the Western executive team.

He said the water challenges faced by Gizo are long overdue and will be a priority for the government to address with development partners, Solomon Water, and the government through the Water Resources Division.

“There were initial discussions with the Indian Government to look into viable options like water desalination plants and piping from the bigger islands nearby. Also, the potential of Kolombangara for hydroelectricity.

“MMERE is in the process of reviewing the current electricity act, crafting a new bill on petroleum handling, and developing geothermal energy at Paraso on Vella LaVella Island.”

The second courtesy call by Isabel Province Premier Honourable Lawrence Hayward and his small delegation focused on royalty payments towards mining operations, the shared benefits of being host to the country’s nickel mining group, and dealing with prospecting licensing at the provincial level.

Isabel Province Premier Hon.Lawrence Hayward and his delegation

Hon. Lawrence also stressed the importance of enforcement mechanisms governing mining operations, capacity building and information exchange between the head ministry and provincial counterparts.

Hon. Tovosia briefed Premier Hayward on the review process of the Mines Resources Act 2023, capturing royalty percentage increases and shared benefits, taking into consideration one that creates a conducive investment climate.

He said it’s within the Government for National Unity and Transformation’s (GNUT) 100-day policy to push for the bill to be tabled in parliament in the next parliament sitting.

“There were also matters that will be handled, such as stationing monitoring and inspection officers at Buala and addressing the information flow hiccups faced at the provincial level and in the main ministry.

“MMERE will convene all responsible heads to talk out solutions that should work, seeing as mining is new to the province and its people.”

Secretary to Cabinet (STC) Nego Sisiolo also reminded the leaders of both provinces’ on finalizing their Memorandum of Understanding’s (MOU’s) historical sister relationship with the People’s Republic of China: Western Province partnering with Fujian Province and Isabel with Shandong Province.


-GCU Press Release 

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