The Republic of China (Taiwan) today formally released an SBD$8 million payment to assist the Solomon Islands government compensate Our Telekom to enable the company relinquish its monopoly license.

ROC Ambassador George Chan released the payment to Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua in Honiara today. Mr Chan said the funding is part of his country's assistance to the Solomon Islands Government as it moves to reform its telecommunication sector.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua said to ensure people have access to better telecommunication technologies freeing up the market is one of his Governments high priorities.

The ruling CNURA Government's policy is to have a competitive telecommunication system that gives Solomon Islands people a choice of modern technologies, systems and competitive prices.

"A competitive telecommunication landscape will change the lives of all Solomon Islands citizens. Almost every person in this country will benefit from greater access to better telecommunication services. The country will also benefit through better productivity, more investment, more employment and in the long run increase economic growth," Dr Sikua explained.

Ambassador Chan said he is pleased that ROC's funding will facilitate Solomon Islands' people to enjoy excellent access, extensive coverage, quality services and good value prices of mobile services.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Chan also released a separate payment of SB$800,000 for two constituencies under the Millennium Development Fund (MDF). The payment was made after two MPs submitted their MDF retirement reports for 2008 in line with SIG's policy on due report requirement.

Dr Sikua said the submitted retirement reports of all 50 MPs' constituencies have demonstrated that all the members of Parliament were dedicated to carry out their commitments for ensuring the fund is utilized in the most effective and efficient manner and in accordance with the development needs and aspirations of their respective constituencies.

Ambassador Chan is pleased to note that by using the MDF, many local markets, meeting rooms, footbridges, building materials, water tanks, solar lighting units, copra driers and transport vessels have been in place in the rural areas throughout the whole country. As a result, many rural inhabitants have been able to enhance their economic activities and livelihoods.

Ambassador Chan assured Prime Minister Sikua that ROC fully supports CNURA Government to implement the rural advancement policy in Solomon Islands and will firmly keep the commitment to assist in Solomon Islands national development.

Prime Minister Sikua once again on behalf of people and the Government of Solomon Islands, expressed his sincere gratitude to ROC and its people for continuing assistance.

"The Government of Solomon Islands will remain firmly committed in working closely with the government of Taiwan to serve the interest and needs of our two countries and people," Dr Sikua said.

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