The Governments of Japan and Solomon Islands yesterday signed a multi-million dollar Grant Aid Agreement for the construction of a new Auki Jetty and Market worth SBD$80 million (962 million yen).

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. William Haomae and Japanese Charge' d Affairs, Akira Iwanade signed documents to pave the way for the implementation of the project which is expected to begin at the end of this year.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which supervises the project, is expected to dispatch a study team to carry out a detailed design of the project by May before a tender process is announced.

The project has two main components. The first is the Market Facility which will consist of a main market hall, access passages, shops, butchery and chest freezers and administrative blocks. Other features will include public toilets, temporary garbage sheds and elevated water tanks.

The Jetty will consist of a 64m x 12m main jetty, a 49m x 8m access jetty and an 18m x 8m ferry ramp. Other facilities will include mooring posts, fenders and lightings. Included in this component is a shore protection for the market site and a combined small fishing vessel mooring facility.

"This project will expand the opportunities of the people of Malaita Province to generate cash income and to improve the flow of and exchange of goods between Malaita, Honiara and other Provinces," said Mr Akira Iwanade.

Mr Iwanade hopes the two projects will contribute to Malaita's economic and social development and improve rural livelihood of people in the province.

"I am sure the market and jetty will one day become the center of livelihood in Malaita," he added.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, William Haomae said Japan's valuable assistance to Solomon Islands has been very apparent especially in the areas of infrastructure development, energy, agriculture, fisheries and many others.

"These programs have been hugely beneficial to the government and people of Solomon Islands," Minister Haomae reiterated.

He added that the project falls in line with the CNURA Government's policy of rural advancement and it will bring immense social and economic benefit to rural people in Malaita.

Minister Haomae said the project is a gift from one of our major development partners and urges the people of Malaita to take good care of it for the long term benefit of future Malaitan generations.

Yesterday's signing ceremony was made in the presence of the Minister for Infrastructure Development, Hon. Stanley Sofu, Permanent Secretary John Ta'aru, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, George Hiele, Provincial Secretary for Malaita Province, Harold Leka and senior officials from the government, the Japanese Embassy and JICA.

Source: Press Release, Government Communication Unit