Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon. Rick Houenipwela has reaffirmed his Government’s support towards two key economic infrastructures in the country.

The Prime Minister gave updates on the Tina River Hydro project and the underseas cable during his address to the 10th Australia-Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane last week.

Hon Houenipwela said the Government has now secured funding for Tina River Hydro Dam Project in the vicinity of SBD1.6 Billion (approx. USD200million).

“When operational the Tina River project will supply up to 80% of energy needs in the national capital and reduce the cost of doing business at the national capital.

“The government is considering other sustainable clean energy solutions for the rest of the country – a clear reflection of the Government’s policy on clean energy,” he said.

He said to ensure competitiveness and greater accountability in the energy sector, the government is currently undertaking consultations aimed at improving our legislation including the separation of the regulatory and service provision aspects in the country’s energy sector.

“Currently the regulator and service provider are one and the same – which does not auger well from a governance, control, accountability, competitiveness and transparency standpoint,” he said.

On the Undersea Submarine Cable, Prime Minister Houenipwela said this project is on target for connection and commissioning in late 2019.

“The cable will transform and revolutionise communication capability in Solomon Islands. The cable will also have a domestic component with links to Auki, Noro and Taro.

“Both the Tina Hydro and the Cable projects are “game changers”.

“Both will translate to more efficient and cheaper cost of doing business in the country as currently, communication and energy costs in Solomon Islands are amongst the highest in the region, and most possibly in the world,” he said.

Apart from the Tina Hydro and Undersea Submarine Cable, the Government is pursuing other important reform policies and major projects that are geared towards creating a vibrant economy.

These include:

- The tax reforms

- Reviving of Development Bank of Solomon Islands

- Upgrading of Munda to become our second international airport