Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment Francis Billy Hilly has assured Malaita province and its people of the government's determination to build an international sea port at Bina Habour in the Province.Minister Hilly successfully visited the project site last Thursday and was satisfied with the outcome of the visit together with Malaita Premier Richard Irosaea and his Provincial team, top officials of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority and landowning groups in the area.
Speaking during the visit to Bina Harbour, Minister Hilly firmly assured people that the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) government is determined to implement the project and pledges the government's strong financial commitment to the project.
"The government is very serious to make provisions for the project in this year's national budget although we have only two years to work". "But we seriously want to see things happen in the next two years and Bina Harbour is one of the major priorities," he said.
Work on the project will start as soon as the national parliament approves the 2008 national budget. A Bina Harbour Project Office and a Project Task Force was already established in Auki to facilitate the implementation of the project.
The Minister acknowledged that delays to projects are always attributed to limited funds and inadequate willpower to pursue and implement projects across the country.
Bina Harbour, which is approximately 25 kilometers from Auki was on the drawing board over the last 15 years but failed to materialize due to problems with funding and heavy land disputes.
The delay was further amplified by the recent social unrest and the subsequent financial problems affecting the national government. Despite the problems, the CNURA government is now committed under its rural development policy to implement the project in the next two years.
Minister Hilly said the government has seen the importance of the project and subsequent spin-offs that will benefit Bina residents, Malaita Province and the rest of Solomon Islands. He also called for stakeholder-support which included the provincial government and landowning tribes towards the initiative.
"We want support from tribal leaders, the provincial government and people of Malaita to allow for the smooth progress of this project". "Developing this place will certainly create commercial benefits for people in surrounding communities in terms of market opportunities that reduced the burden of traveling long distances to sell produces and more importantly the standard of living in the province," he said.