Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says the Taiwan funded Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) is a gesture of friendship meant to improve the welfare and livelihood of rural dwellers in Solomon Islands and should be expended only for that purpose.

Dr Sikua made the call when he officially received a total of $10 million for the RCDF scheme from Taiwan's Ambassador George Chan on Monday.

Thanking Ambassador Chan for Taiwan's continuous assistance to Solomon Islands, Dr Sikua promised that the CNURA Government will use the fund well and enhance people's lives and welfare at this time of economic hardship.

Ambassador Chan joined Dr Sikua to encourage Members of Solomon Islands Parliament to consult with their constituency committees before deciding on how to expend the money.

Under the RCDF scheme, each of the country's 50 constituencies is given an annual allocation of $1 million each for constituency development projects.

Ambassador Chan said with proper administration of the Rural Development Fund, the livelihood in rural areas will be well kept and strongly improved.

The Taiwanese Government also released a total Education Funding of $6.7 million dollars during the ceremony to fund scholarships for Solomon Islands students to study in Taiwan and other countries.

Minister of Education and Human Resources Development, Mathew Wale who witnessed the donation, said the Education Award funded by Taiwan has laid down a strong foundation for the development of education in Solomon Islands.

He also thanked Taiwan's Government for the donation.

Ambassador Chan told Prime Minister Sikua that the whole world is now facing global financial crisis.

The crisis has impacted not only on the US, Japan, Australia and Taiwan, but also on Solomon Islands.

"During this difficult time, all the countries have to work even closer to cope with the challenges together.

"Taiwan, as a true friend of Solomon Islands, is more than willing to rendering its assistance to its staunchest ally in the Pacific at the time when Taiwan's own economy is facing unprecedented challenges," Mr Chan said.

Press Release (Government Communications Unit)