Friday, 15 August 2008 4:39 PM

Prem. Irosaea Calls For More Government Support

Malaita Premier, Richard Irosaea has expressed concern about budgetary support from the National Government, towards national projects earmarked for Malaita, such as the Auluta Oil Palm Project, the Bina Harbour Industrial site proposal and the proposed Fisheries Centre at Suava Bay on North Malaita.

Commenting on the assistance from the National Government and Donors towards the general economic development in Malaita Province, Irosaea said that it had been very minimal during the past 25 years, since the Province attained provincial government status.

"The Government and Donors had focused more on social services particularly in the education and health sector and as a result lot of help and improvement had occurred. But not much had been done to help boost general economic development in the Provinces," Premier Irosaea said.

He said that it was important that the Government took the time to re-look at the way that it has been dealing with the proposed Auluta Oil Palm, the Bina Harbour, and Suava Bay Fisheries projects.

While acknowledging that there are land problems associated with the proposed projects which required a lot of issues to deal with, Premier Irosaea urged the Government to review its own planning strategies.

The Malaita Premier said that when he observed the way the Government had been giving budgetary support to the three projects, it appeared to be almost adhoc with no clear specific goals.

"There is therefore perhaps the need for the Government to review its own approach. Look at the way the Central Government had been dealing with the projects, one would incline to think that there are no actual coordinated plans and thus no clear goals," said Premier Irosaea.

He said that these three projects are crucial to Malaita Province, given the displacement of many Malaita workers during the ethnic tension, many of whom have found themselves back in Malaita with little employment opportunities.

The Malaita Premier said that while all provinces face many fundamental problems. Malaita Province, being the most highly populated in the country, adds weight to the urgency of the need to open up large national projects in Malaita.

"Given the size of our population and having to depend on an annual service grants works out to $22 per head. This means that the bulk of the Malaita population is in a sense, marginalized, therefore opportunities should be given to Malaita through those projects to do something to help themselves," stated the Malaita Premier.

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