Minister for Foreign Affairs William Haomae and Japanese Charge'd Affairs Mr Akira Iwanade yesterday signed exchange notes in Honiara as a start towards the construction of a new Market center and a Jetty in the Malaita Provincial Capital, Auki.

The Japanese government is funding the two projects worth over SBD$2.2 million. Mr Iwanade said the Japanese Government is pleased to provide a grant aid for the detailed design of the two projects.

Another exchange of notes for the implementation of the projects will be signed towards the middle of this year.

The Auki market and Jetty projects are aimed at expanding opportunities for rural people in the province to generate cash income and to improve the flow and exchange of goods and people with Honiara and other provinces.

"The Market is to improve marketing and distribution conditions of local products in Malaita Province and goods traded from Honiara and to improve movement of customers, products and vehicles.

"By the same token, the construction of the Auki Jetty will secure the safety of vessels and passengers and will improve movements of passengers, cargoes and vehicles," Mr Iwanade said.

He said the two projects will contribute to Malaita Province's economic and social development for every Solomon Islander.

Mr Haomae praised the Japanese assistance and stressed that the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) Government will continue to work closely with donor partners to ensure its rural development policy objectives are achieved.