Two new transport laws in the Solomon Islands, that are designed to improve services and safety, have been welcomed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

ADB supported the drafting of the bills, which were recently passed following extensive consultations.

The National Transport Fund Act will establish a financing facility to fund the development of the country's transport system. It will support improved shipping services between islands, and may also include the rehabilitation of roads and bridges.

"The National Transport Fund will provide a long term, sustainable mechanism for funding the maintenance of transport infrastructure in Solomon Islands," says Eugenue Zhukov, Regional Director of ADB's Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney, Australia. "The Fund will also improve interisland shipping services and facilitate the construction and repair of wharves and jetties throughout the country."

The Maritime Safety Administration Act paves the way for a series of maritime reforms, including the establishment of the maritime safety administration and the regulation of shipping franchise schemes.

"The new Maritime Act will help provide more reliable and safer shipping services to Solomon Islands," says Robert Guild, Senior Transport Specialist from ADB's Pacific Department.

Both laws support the Solomon Islands' National Transport Plan, which lays out the strategies, policies, and priorities for the development of transport in the island nation.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2008, it approved $10.5 billion of loans, $811.4 million of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to $274.5 million.

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