Work on major infrastructure projects in Malaita province, Solomon Islands will begin this month following the recent formalization of contracts between relevant Government Ministries and Contractors.
These projects include the Auki Road Sealing project, Fiu Bridge Emergency works, Busurata-Okwala Road rehabilitation and Emergency Works on the North Road while scoping work for major rehabilitation for North Road, East and South Roads are currently underway with actual work expected to begin in early 2016.
The unexpected delays in actual works was created by the tender and awarding processes in implementing many of the infrastructure and maintenance projects by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) in Malaita and throughout the country following the passing of the budget in April this year.
Since the passage of the 2015 Budget, the Government has only been able to implement its programs and reforms in the past three months.
Within that period, many national infrastructure development projects have to go through the long tender process before implementation.
Depending on the nature of the projects, many of the major projects would have taken months before contractors can reach project sites to commence work. This has been the case with many of the national infrastructure projects.
Director Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Harry Rini indicated that a lot of the funding for the major development projects for Malaita was also hampered by new reforms in regulations carried out by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
“Definitely, changes in regulations and procedures undertaken by the Finance Ministry have slowed down the process of awarding contracts and procurement for many of the projects.”
“In effect, the Finance reforms have delayed us considerably during the last five (5) months since the 2015 Budget was passed”.
“These are procedures that we (MID) will have to go through, but we are confident by next years’ budget, we would have identified where the bottlenecks in the system occurred and quickly awarded contracts and do procurements where appropriate”, he said.
Hence, many of the infrastructure development and maintenance projects earmarked for Malaita under this year’s budget would only be implemented at the end of August 2015.
“Like many other projects to be implemented by MID, many contract formalities are only just completed this time since the 2015 Budget was passed. So many of the projects will be rolled out beginning from the end of August and continuing until the end of this year”, he said.
Meanwhile, many other infrastructure developments are earmarked to be implemented in Malaita province towards the end of 2015 and in 2016, according to the Ministry’s project implementation schedule.
The East Road Emergency work is currently under request for quotation and will be implemented by early October 2015 according to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) timeframe.
Additionally, all other bridge replacements for North, East and South Malaita are currently in the procurement stage and will be implemented by the end of 2015.
Apart from the rehabilitation and maintenance projects, other New Projects to be implemented in Malaita in 2016, including the Hauhui-Wairaha Road in South Malaita and access roads to Bina, Suava, Kadabina and Afio.
Major wharves in Malaita are also undergoing maintenance. The Ministry (MID) is working to finalize contracts on the maintenance contract for 5 wharves in Malaita, while Uhu Wharf in South Malaita is in the procurement process, Mr Rini said.
Furthermore, three (3) South Malaita Bridge extensions are currently in the Evaluation and Award process, to be implemented also in September 2015.
Mr Rini said Malaita infrastructure development projects under the 2015 Budget will constitute a considerable portion of MID’s resources allocation but the Ministry is confident to complete the projects by the December 2016.
Source: Press Release, Government Communication Unit