PacificTenders Magazine Issue:2

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Overview Pacifictenders Magazine is the News & Media Publication for the Award Winning Online Tender Procurement Platform Pacifictenders.com. An online marketplace connecting Local Governments & Contractors by way of linking Government Agency Tender bid notices to the Private Sector community. We are a locally owned & Operating Digital Publishing Company serving Solomon Islands & PNG markets.

About Us PacificTenders.com is a Subsidiary of Adkonect, a Marketing Communications company founded in 2011 in Solomon Islands. Over the past years we have worked on delivering Marketing, Advertising & communications projects for Corporate & Government Clients.

The Publication of Pacifictenders Magazine is an Industry resource for the Infrastructure & Development sector. It is about celebrating the diverse Building & Construction industry in the Pacific, by providing a medium to showcase their projects, build a greater public awareness and engage potential contractors.

Product Development Roadmap We have built our Online Procurement platform and Digital assets over the years to serve our Pacific Island Brands. In 2016 we launched the 1st online tender procurement platform in the Pacific Region (Pacifictenders.com), the second phase of the PT Product will be launched in 2020 introducing e-commerce digital tender document payments and a SelfManaged Portal for our Subscribers to use.

PT Magazine Publication Today our focus is on providing value added content & stories for Pacifictenders Users.

Rodney Rupokets

www.pacifictenders.com

PNG CONTACT In Country Marketing/Advertising Mr. Sorbie Panbiruo sorbie.valen@gmail.com

Published by Adkonect PNG P.O. Box 49 Port Moresby, PNG www.adkonect.com.pg Founder Publisher Mr. Rodney Rupokets rodney@pacifictenders.com Business and Marketing Director Ms. Namoi Kaluae namoi@adkonect.com.sb Editor Solomon Islands Mr. Douglas Saefoa Editor PNG Mr. Jason Kaut Contributing Writers David Spring Australia Haylene Joku PNG Esther Nuria Solomon Islands

Founder & Publisher

Advertising Enquiries ......................................................................................................................

contact@pacifictenders.com sorbie.valen@gmail.com www.pacifictenders.com S.I (+677 38229) PNG (+675 75971524) PNG (+675 75923057) ......................................................................................................................

Distribution PT-Magazine is distributed via a Digital Copy accessed from the Pacifictenders.com Platform reaching all PT Subscriber Companies and Printed Copies Distributed to Government Agencies, Hotels, Retail and Hardware Supermarkets in Honiara & Port-Moresby. Relying on the support of our peers in the Construction and Infrastructure sectors to help this initiative grow.

Commentaries and Contributed articles published in the magazine are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reect the views of PacificTenders Magazine - whose role is to provide our readers in Solomon Islands, PNG & the region with a digest of Tender Procurement related news in various sectors of the Pacific Region. (Any Advertisments placed in this Publication, are the responsibility of the advertiser, responsibility for any Advertisment is not accepted by Adkonect)


Contents

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PM MARAPE KEEN ON INVESTING IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

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GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE MARKET ACCESS THROUGH BONALE PINEAPPLE PROJECT

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BUSINESSES BRACE FOR ANOTHER CHALLE NGING YEAR

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WORLD BANK IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT TEAM HAILS CAUSE’S PROGRESS

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$17M CT SCAN PROJECT TO ROLL OUT IN 2020

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SOLOMONS EXPECTING HIKE IN TUNA REVENUE

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AUSTRALIA’S DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT TOWARDS TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN BOUGAINVILLE

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TWELVE NEW BRIDGES OPEN FOR TRAFFIC ON NEW BRITAIN HIGHWAY

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OIL SEARCH RESTORES KEY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR COMMUNITIES

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NEW LAWS TO CLAMP DOWN ON SYSTEMATIC CORRUPTION

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TISA TO ADD VALUE IN PROPERTY INVESTMENT IN PNG

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KUMUL SUBMARINE CABLE LANDING UNDERWAY IN PNG

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SIPA UPGRADES SECURITY

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BINA HABOUR PROJECT TO BE OPERATIONAL BY 2023

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USD 40M FOR KUKUM HIGHWAY PHASE II PROJECT

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PM PROVIDES UPDATE ON 2023 PACIFIC GAMES

COVER STORY Road to Sol2023 PNG Commits K40 Million towards Pacific Games 2023

8 COVER STORY Infrastructure Infrastructure Key to Growth: Pacific Islands leaders discuss economic growth at Pacific Infrastructure Investment Seminar

10 HEALTHCARE COVID-19 Update PM Sogavare to announce Economic Stimulus Package

14 INFRASTRUCTURE On site with Reeves International EXCLUSIVE insight into the Multi-Purpose Hall upgrade project

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Project Partners keen on youth development in Honiara City

TINA RIVER HYDRO BEGINS IMPLEMENTATION MIGA Covers K-Water & HEC Investment in Solomon Islands’ First Hydropower Project

NZ-HCC GIVES MULTI-PURPOSE HALL AN UPGRADE

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FINANCIAL INCLUSION UPTAKE Solomon Islands Postal Corporation Introduces Ezi Pei eWallet

A boost for local employment Approximately 145 newly created jobs for the local community will be available

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ZHENG’S MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MALL

> MoU for high performance 20

INFRASTRUCTURE KEY TO GROWTH

facility site signed > PRC reaffirms commitment to deliver 2023 Games facilities > Indonesia commits to construction of Futsal Stadium in Solomon Islands


INFRASTRUCTURE

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PNG Commits

K40 Million towards Pacific Games 2023 BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

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he Government of Papua New Guinea has committed Kina 40 million to support the Solomon Islands government in preparations to host the 2023 Pacific Games. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Honourable James Marape formalized this commitment during his recent visit to the Solomon Islands in February. In a statement Sol2023 National Hosting Authority (NHA) Chairman and Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Jimmy Rodgers confirmed that the PNG Government have offered to support the Solomon Islands Government, specifically in construction of facilities. PM Marape during his announcement of the K40 million support said Solomon Islands is a growing economy and that Papua New Guinea is always willing to support its sister countries. “Solomon Islands is preparing to host one the region’s biggest sporting events and since Papua New Guinea has previously hosted this event as well, we see it fit to support our brothers and sisters in Solomon Islands to ensure its success” said Marape. Dr. Rodgers statement stated that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between both governments’, the PNG government has already transferred K20 million to the Ministry of Finance while actual site preparations have already started. “The Sol2023 NHA in consultation with the PNG government have agreed to allocate the K40 million to the relocation and reconstruction of the Solomon Islands Football Federation Academy. A much bigger state of the art facility which will host the early development of football champions in the country,” said Rodgers. Dr Rodgers said the new academy is expected to double the size and capability of the current Academy located at the

King George field area. The architectural designs also depicts a two-storey structure which should house the SIFF administrative block in addition to the football pitches. When asked about the timeline of actual construction Sol2023 Executive Director Christian Nieng said currently his office has been pushing forward with the relocation of current settler’s at Burns-Creek. “Since January we have instigated negotiations with the current settler’s at the area and they have agreed to relocate. We are currently finalizing this arrangement with the settlers and they should soon vacate so we can step in and initiate formalities with regards to the Environmental impact certificate and other relevant processes allowing us to proceed with the construction” said Nieng Mr. Nieng said according to their work plan actual construction of the new SIFF academy is expected to start in June and commence alongside the construction of the track and field venues which will be located near the current King George sixth school dormitories opposite the Tongs Corporation complex. The NHA also noted that most of the bids for the contracts will be posted internationally and that they expect a lot of International contractors to also bid for the construction contracts. Dr. Rodgers said an agreement had been reached between the NHA and SIFF to relocate the Academy since the current Academy will be taken down and replaced with the Multi-Purpose Futsal Stadium funded by the Indonesian government. The Multi-Purpose Futsal Stadium will be constructed by WIKA, a construction company from Indonesia which has already set up office in Solomon Islands. People’s Republic of China (PRC), Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand have committed funds towards the preparations for the 2023 Games. Most of the donor support funds have been earmarked towards construction of facilities alongside the government’s $2 billion total support allocation which has been approved in Parliament for the preparations and hosting of the games. n

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Road to Sol2023

INFRASTRUCTURE


INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructure Key to

Growth BY DAVID SPRING Sydney Australia

D

entons Lawyers in Sydney hosted a Pacific infrastructure business opportunities seminar on 18 February for interested parties to hear about ongoing projects, upcoming work and how financing for the sector is being managed. The seminar was over-subscribed, demonstrating the level of current interest in this subject. Attendees were from the consulting and construction industries, as well as financiers, businesses, industry and representative groups. Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Hon Alex Hawke MP, presented the keynote address, highlighting in particular, the Aus-

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Pacific Islands leaders discuss economic growth at Pacific Infrastructure Investment Seminar

Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, and and Minister for Infrastructure Development Hon. Manasseh Maelanga (right) and NTF Director Jimmy Nuake.

tralian government’s Pacific ‘step up’. Since realising its ongoing role as part of the ‘Pacific family’ Australia instigated this program, which aims to provide an enabling environment for economic growth. The centrepiece of the ‘step up’, and most relevant to the audience, was the A$2bn Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP); limited details were provided on where and how that money may be spent. The first session was a series of presentations from high-ranking diplomats and ministers from Melanesia, as well as the leaders of Pacific industry bodies, sharing their in-depth knowledge of the coming pipeline of


INFRASTRUCTURE

work. The Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon Manasseh Maelanga, also the Minster for Infrastructure Development, described how central his ministry is to the development of Solomon Islands, noting that his staff represent the government on almost every committee with relevance to economic growth. The Solomon Islands has embraced an ‘outsourcing’ model in the past decade or more, with state-owned enterprises running the utility companies and private contractors doing all of the road works. Minister Maelanga’s vision is that commercial agriculture and industry are developed by providing transport infrastructure that offers access and connectivity. This is not just for businesses; it has a large social benefit. The National Transport Fund (NTF) – a donor and government pooled fund for delivering transport development and maintenance under the National Transport Plan – has proved to be an effective mechanism. He also listed a broad range of projects which are external to the NTF:

As climate change occurs, risk profiles will change and the challenge for any infrastructure investment is how to make it durable so that it continues to provide a return.

> Township growth initiatives, such as Bina, Noro and the Taro town relocation

> Solomon Islands Road and Aviation Project (SIRAP) – a World Bank funded project focussing on roads in Malaita, as well as a runway upgrade to the international airport in Honiara (Henderson)

> Henderson airport buildings and apron upgrade – funded by the Japanese government

> Tina River Hydropower Project – initiated by the World Bank (but now includes many donors), to provide a 15 MW hydropower generation facility and transmission lines, close to Honiara

> Kukum Highway upgrade – extension of the road upgrade of the eastern side highway in Honiara, to the airport, funded by the Japanese government

> Urban water and sanitation upgrade in Honiara – funded by the Asian Development Bank

> National Transport Core (NTC) – proposal to develop a network of ferries and key road extensions to open up new areas of agricultural production

> Land and Maritime Connectivity Project – a series of rural road upgrades in Guadalcanal, urban road upgrades in Honiara, new domestic wharves and upgraded international ports at Noro and Honiara, primarily funded by Asian Development Bank

> Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) – Australian government initiative – most likely to manage work arising from the AIFFP or NTC

> National Transport Plan – 80-90 percent of the planned work is still unfunded

> Tuna canneries in Bina, Doma and others Thus, Solomon Islands is very well endowed with upcoming work, all of which Mr Maelanga expects will contribute to the growth and wellbeing of Solomon Islands’ people. Attributed to the Asian Development Bank, several presenters cited a “$3.1bn annual spend on infrastructure” over the next 10 years, in order to address current infrastructure needs. Accepting this premise, and assuming that the solution is finance, the remaining two sessions of the seminar were about the financing of infrastructure in the Pacific. Traditionally it has been foreign governments (bilateral) and multilateral banks who have provided loans and grants to finance infrastructure. To that end, the Chief Investment Officer of the AIFFP and the CEO of Export Finance Australia gave an insight into how these arms of the Australian government have co-ordinated to finance projects. However, a different perspective was offered by two commercial banks (ANZ and BSP) as well as superannuation and investment funds. They spoke about commercially viable investments, such as hotels, digital expansion, ports, airports and renewable energy projects, which may be developed to attract investors seeking a return. Rather than waiting for foreign aid priorities to determine infrastructure priorities, investors use the demand of the market mechanism to leverage finance. For many forms of infrastructure, it is an increasing viable option. As climate change occurs, risk profiles will change and the challenge for any infrastructure investment is how to make it durable so that it continues to provide a return. The combination of multiple financing sources and notable infrastructure needs into the future provides the opportunity for strong business relationships to develop. If this translates into improved livelihoods and wellbeing for the people of the Pacific, then it is an investment worth making. n

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Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers to consider regional response to

COVID-19 PANDEMIC The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the implementation of unprecedented response measures and restrictions by Governments across the Pacific region, in an effort to curb the transmission and spread of the virus in Pacific Island States.

PACNEWS

P

acific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers met on Tuesday 07 April, 2020 to discuss the proposed outline for a coordinated regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic in close consultation and partnership with the World Health Organisation and the Pacific Community. In a letter to all Forum Leaders on 30 March, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, recognised that “we find ourselves in extraordinary times and circumstances where the very mettle of our nations

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and governments are tested beyond any limits that we have known in our lifetime.” Senior Officials of the Pacific Islands Forum have met to discuss and elaborate a possible regional response mechanism that would ease the coordination of supplies and assistance to the member states. This follows the triggering of the Biketawa Declaration by the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausea Natano. The Biketawa Declaration is the Pacific region’s mechanism for coordinating regional cooperation and

assistance in the face of a crisis. “If ever there was a time where the region and its partners needed to work together in strong solidarity to overcome a direct and immediate threat to the lives of our people across our Blue Pacific region – it is now,” said Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General to the Pacific Islands Forum. The Pacific Islands Forum continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories and is working with relevant agencies to ensure timely support and assistance. n


HEALTHCARE

PM SOGAVARE TO ANNOUNCE ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE n SIG to reappropriate $137 Million n Donor Partners have committed millions through Budget Support for COVID-19

Disaster Preparedness, Emergency response and economic stimulus, BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

O

fficials within the Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the Office of the Prime Minister are consolidating information to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package. This follows consultations with stakeholders including Development Partners recently. In a statement during an emergency parliament meeting on 6 April, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said his government is looking at possible measures necessary to counteract a possible outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

“While we are in the process of preparing and responding to a set of pre-planned phases of this pandemic,.Work has also been carried out with Financial Institutions, State-Owned Enterprises and private sector enterprises to cushion the negative impact that the current measures and restrictions will have on the economy and public livelihood.” In his statement Prime Minister Sogavare revealed that several donor partners have already made financial commitments through budget support to support the government deal with COVID-19 national disaster preparedness and emergency response. All development partners have expressed solidarity with the government in its efforts to combat COVD-19. Several of the partners have committed ‘budget support’ to assist government. To date, commitment to budget support include:

NZ$3 million

> from the Government of New Zealand

AUD$13 million

> from the Government of Australia

USD$26 Million

> from the Asian Development Bank of which USD$6 million is specifically for health interventions and for national disaster preparedness with the balance to support economic stimulus interventions

USD$20 million

> from the Wold Bank with USD$5 million specially for health interventions and for national disaster preparedness with the balance to support economic stimulus interventions

USD$300,000

> from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC)

Apart from commitments from donor partners the government has taken the decision to re-appropriate SBD $137million committed within its current and recurrent budget to ensure the country’s financial engine remains functional during the state of emergency period, which parliament has extended to four months. According to the Prime Minister, incentives to minimize or reduce costs for essential services and provide financial stimulus are progressively being implemented. “The government will continue to keep the public informed on the roll out of these measures,” he stated. Meanwhile Leader of Opposition and MP for Aoke Langalanga Hon. Matthew Wale warned the government not to allow foreign workers to come in and work in the Solomon Islands over the period of the State of Emergency. Mr Wale in his statement referred to overseas contractors and their constructions workers especially those who are expected to construct facilities for the 2023 Pacific games in Honiara. “I call on the government to seriously consider putting a hold on the PG2023 preparations especially on the construction side of things which would allow foreign workers into the

country. I believe it is a risky exercise which we can’t ignore especially when the COVID-19 situation is still tense,” said Wale. The opposition leader proposed that if the situation worsens overseas contractors could be held back from coming into the country and that this could affect the preparation timeline for the Pacific games, which might lead to the postponement of the games altogether. Prime Minister Sogavare however, encouraged the nation to continue to be vigilant and prepared. “The Government has already worked on our preparedness plans, as a way forward should there be a lock down within the emergency zone between Alligator Creek and Poha River, to isolate any potential spread of the coronavirus if we happen to get a confirmed case.” A simulated lockdown drill will be activated in the coming week to test the response capacity of the Government in preparation for an actual lockdown scenario should it become necessary. The Solomon Islands has so far had no confirmed case at the time of writing and were yet to go into lockdown. n

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INFRASTRUCTURE

(From L-R) Bobby Siarani Honiara Youth Council Youth Coordinator, Mary Tuhaika Acting Head of Division Youth, Sports & Women Affairs/Youth Development Officer and Nelson Kabitana HCC sports development officer.

NZ Government & HCC Give Multi-Purpose Hall an Upgrade Project Partners keen on youth development in Honiara City BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

H I

oniara has a large and vibrant youth population with no shortage of energy and enthusiasm. n recognition of this, the Honiara City Council (HCC) and New Zealand Government are partnering on a project that aims to support increased opportunities for positive youth engagement through upgrades to the Honiara Multi-purpose Hall. HCC Clerk Mr. Rence Sore said in a statement that the HCC owned Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH) in Honiara has continuously served its purpose facilitating programmes including sports, recreation and staged performances, even accommodating the HCC’s Youth Division staff. However the condition of this facility has deteriorated, limiting the full utilization of the site. The range of activities and services HCC and its partners want to deliver

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from the MPH require safe, functional, high quality infrastructure. The previous council therefore submitted a request to the New Zealand Government for the upgrade and construction of additional facilities. The New Zealand Government has committed a total of NZD $8.8M for the infrastructure components of the upgrade, as well as additional co-funding with the HCC to support ongoing management, maintenance and the delivery of youth-focused services from the facilities. The purpose of the upgrade is to provide a safe and positive environment for young people to engage in a range of sporting and recreational activities, and access support services. The upgraded facilities may also be used as a training venue in the lead up to the 2023 Pacific Games. “The Multi-Purpose Hall is intended to be a facility for the community,” said New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, H.E. Georgina Roberts, “a space for fun, activity, learning, coming together and developing the talent of this vibrant society.”


DEVELOPMENT With the target beneficiaries being the youth in Honiara, Honiara Youth Council Coordinator Bobby Siarani said this joint initiative by the New Zealand Government and the Honiara City Council will provide youths with an avenue to enhance thier talents and artistic skills. In addition Mary Tuhaika, HCC’s Youth Development Officer noted that the deteriorating state of the MPH and the lack of proper facilities has not been much help to their efforts in engaging urban youths in sports and recreational programmes. “The reality of this project started in 2017 and its progress is very rewarding and I would like to thank the New Zealand government for sharing our vision in the development of our youths,” said Mrs Tuhaika. The project has looked at ways to support the skills development of young people through the construction stage. A number of young Solomon Islanders are undertaking paid work experience on the project, including in the areas of carpentry, electrical and engineering. Over the coming months, a new youth center will be built, a performance stage constructed, the sport courts refurbished, and the main Multi-Purpose Hall extended. Building inclusive, accessible spaces to support those with disabilities is a key consideration for the project, and has been fed into the design development of all components of the upgrade. The New Zealand High Commission said construction is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2020. New Zealand and HCC will continue their partnership after construction is complete, to support the effective maintenance of the facilities for a five year period, particularly in the lead up to the 2023 Pacific Games. n

Honiara City Clerk Rence Sore recognises the New Zealand government’s support to the Development of youth in the City.

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INFRASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION

On site with

REEVES

INTERNATIONAL In this segment of “on site”, Douglas Saefoa of PT Magazine visited Reeves International’s Brian Olman who is in charge of the current Multi-Purpose Hall upgrade contract. Mr. Olman talks about the project and other ventures which Reeves has also undertaken in Solomon Islands. Can you briefly introduce yourself? My name is Brian Olman and I represent Reeves International working on the Multi-Purpose Hall Project upgrading the sports facilities for Honiara City Council. How did your company come to know about this project when it was tendered? We’ve discovered the project application through our office based in Honiara when it was advertised in the media and our office in Melbourne submitted the tender bid for the project. Generally we submitted 8 proposals for projects tendered by our regular clients; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), World Bank (WB) and such like. Can you tell us a little bit about your company, Reeves International? Reeves International is a company based in Melbourne Victoria and there are also different parts of the company as well; we have CCB Envico and Contract Management Systems (CMS). They do different things within the building industry. CMS takes care of Project Management while CCB Envico do water articulation, water tanks and civil works and Reeves International do building works. To put it plainly, we are a group of specialist contractors in civil works infrastructure and construction management in sectors such as water and sewerage, environment, public works, commercial, heritage, and residential.

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Is this Reeves International’s first contract in Solomon Islands or has your company previously undertaken similar contracts in Solomon Islands? Reeves International has been working on projects under the Law and Justice programme facilitated under RAMSI where we also worked alongside other local contractors. I came here in 2010 to work on the law and justice programme. I was also involved in four separate projects in Gizo under Reeves these were: the Correctional facility, the new market, six police houses and a magistrate’s house. Apart from GIzo I also did contracts under Reeves International in Noro, Munda and the Shortland Islands. We also built similar structures under the Law and Justice Programme in Malaita, Makira and Temotu Provinces. I believe the biggest of these projects I have encountered in Solomon Islands was the Gizo market project. As an International Contractor, what are the challenges that you have encountered in this project particular project? Since the start of the project there has not been any serious challenges except for the weather where we had no choice but to continue building in the wet season. The weather in the Pacific is a major challenge for International Contractors including Reeves that is being contracted in any country in the Pacific. But here in Honiara you do have a good port where we get regular shipping services we do have a lot of specialized materials coming in from overseas that we can’t procure here. But materials which we can procure here we outsource to different


INFRASTRUCTURE

Cconstruction workers on site preparing the concrete steel foundation of the new youth center. Below, an aerial view of the construction site.

suppliers in Honiara. Needless to say most of my labours are from Solomon Islands and they make up ninety eight percent of my workers who are seen on site every working day. What is the current status of the project, what have you achieved so far? How far into the project is the construction so far? We are a third of our way into this project, there is still a lot of concrete works to be done on the multi-purpose complex extension because that one is a critical path so we gauging everything from that. But as usual practice with all building projects you have to manipulate the project as best as you can depending on the weather which is more beneficial when we have roofs over our head so that if it’s raining outside we can continue with works on the inside of the building rather than concentrating on the outside. Constant daily check of the environment, listen out for weather forecasts, and I have to manipulate the program as best as I can to make sure we still maintain the progress, it might not be in line with the initial program but I have to manipulate it so progress is still being made regardless of where that is, we got to get our momentum going. We’ve done a UXO survey which is the first and foremost thing we have to do, due to unidentified war remnant’s scattered over the island. We’ve then carried out demolition which allowed us to start. After we’ve received results from the surveyor we went into construction works especially all the foundation and sub- structural works. We also did geotechnical testing to find out what lies beneath the surface and surprisingly we did find something unexpected, where the sea was a lot closer to the surface which was a bit odd and so we had to change the design on the multi-purpose hall extension. So that created a little bit of delay, but we immediately went into construction after the all-out was approved.” To date we have completed the foundation of the MPH extension, the Youth centre the foundations and slabs have been completed, we’ve also done the performance stage foundations and now we are doing block work. The Canopy’s are on both the futsal court and performance stage. We are now do-

ing concrete works on the futsal area. Specialized Materials including the shade systems for the futsal court and the performance stage are manufactured by a company in from Auckland, New Zealand and shipped into Honiara for the installation. Other materials outsourced include galvanized materials which were brought in to ensure the longevity of the structures. I also understand you have employed a couple of local trainees in various fields in the construction, how many are there? Since undertaking this project Reeves International has employed 18 local personnel and they also do have sub-contractors including Solomon Sheet Steel who do part concrete works with up to 50 staff working in this project. Altogether over 68 local personnel are currently working at the construction site in any given day What do you hope to achieve in in this contract? What is the expected contractual period? With regards to the timeframe of work since we’ve encountered delays at the beginning of the contract we are not certain about meeting the actual date proposed for completion which is July however depending on the weather and other factors this could extend to August. As the contractor I think this project is an absolutely fantastic project supported by New Zealand. This is a feel good project which will not only benefit youths in Honiara but youths in Solomon Islands as a whole since it is situated in the capital. We are very pleased to be part of this project and we hope to achieve something that youths in Solomon Islands can benefit from for a very long time. n Editor’s Note:

New Zealand and HCC will continue their partnership after construction is complete, to support the effective maintenance of the facilities for a five year period, particularly in the lead up to the 2023 Pacific Games.

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Ezi Pei staff agents at the Solomon Islands Postal Corporation head office in Honiara.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION UPTAKE Solomon Islands Postal Corporation Introduces

Ezi Pei eWallet BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

A

ccess to financial services in in the Pacific is starting to see concerted efforts and progress been made in providing the people platforms for financial inclusion and achieving a less-cash society. But according to various reports easily accessible with a Google search, the Pacific is probably one of, if not the last, frontier in fully adopting Financial Technology (FinTech) and more so, mobile applications for everyday use to address social challenges or to unlock opportunities that lay in wait, limitless during this age of rapid technological advancements and innovations. In Papua New Guinea much progress has been made to advance financial inclusion through various government and donor supported programs like the Governments YuTru digital platform under the Bank of PNG, supported by business and industry. Recently in the Solomon Islands, the Solomon Islands Postal Corporation (SIPC) added a mobile eWallet service diversifying its traditional postal and mail services. Providing a range of services under the under provisions of the Universal Postal Services (UPS), SIPC recently introduced an eWallet services called “Ezi Pei”, a mobile money tool that facilitates cashless transactions for Solomon Islanders. The EziPei mobile wallet is a genuinely disruptive FinTech

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product, that provides tier one banks and financial institutions with their own white label inter-operable mobile wallet solution that works with any mobile phone on any mobile network. EziPei provides a secure platform that delivers P2P, P2M, P2G|G2P, air top-up time, bill payments, bulk distributions, remittance, micro-loans, and an effective customer acquisition strategy for exponential growth leading to new revenue streams that are providing social benefits through financial inclusion of the unbanked, and the under-banked. In an interview with Pacific Tenders magazine, Solomon Islands Postal Corporation CEO Alfred Ghemu said: “the EziPei is an added service to our range of financial services that supports eCommerce, encourages safer, reliable and efficient business transactions for citizens in Honiara and throughout the provinces”. Ghemu said.

SIPC SERVICES Mandated under Universal Postal Union Includes end-to-end (e2e) delivery channel which covers eCommerce, Financial Services and Retailing FINANCIAL SERVICES Offers foreign currency exchange, point-to-point webbased money transfer and now mobile money transfers facilitated and linked to all provincial postal branches.


COMMERCE

Only 30+ per cent of Solomon Islanders use formal banking services while the remaining 60+ per cent either partially use or have no access at all to any sort of banking services. “We came up with an idea to offer a financial service that can reach a majority of our citizens in the comfort of their home,” a elated Ghemu said of the Ezi Pei eWallet. The introduction of the Ezi Pei wallet provides the opportunity to reach the majority of the unbanked and under-banked rural population. A majority of the rural populace are expected to be reached as you only need a mobile phone and do not need to have an existing bank account to use the service. “As long as you have a phone with an accepted identity that can be approved through our KYC vetting, you can be instantly registered,” the CEO said.

THE EZI PEI SYSTEM (cutting edge technology) n Operates through a patented SIM-Skin supplied by the Vendor Bibi Money in London, UK n A wafer thin membrane that is attached to the customers’ existing SIM card and provides a host of features n Can be accessed through SMS, Apps and Web-based channels, providing various options depending on preference

n SIPC managers and administers Ezi Pei platform back-end on cloud server limiting downtime Ezi Pei has been established and is being used in many parts of the world including Africa, Middle East, Caribbean and the UK. BibiMoney is also looking at advancing to other parts of the Pacific Island countries including PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and other Pacific Postal Groups [PPG]. According to the CEO once this initiative is established throughout the PPG it will eventually allow the creation of financial corridors within the PPG countries and the world. “After the launch in February Solomon Islands Postal Corporation is deploying the service by expanding Ezi Pei to all the Provincial Post Offices as super agents and will go further down the last mile delivery employing private businesses, churches, schools, and individuals interested to become agents,” Ghemu said “I appeal to the public to use Ezi Pei service because the service is proven to be convenient, easy, fast, secured and scalable; an alternative to handling of cash which is becoming very risky now-a-days. Very soon we will introduce Quick Response Code [QR Codes] for commuters travelling by buses, taxis, merchants and other businesses rendering services to public. We will expand the service as we move ahead,” he said. The uptake of appropriate and relevant technological innovations can help keep the Pacific people connected, provide access to financial services, business opportunities and improve livelihoods. n

lionheartplanthire@gmail.com www.pacifictenders.com

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Zheng’s

MULTIMILLION DOLLAR MALL >>

AJ Construction Manager and owner of the AJ City building Mr. Aaron Zheng on the top floor of his new building.

BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

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he soon to open ultra-modern glass mall in Lungga will surely lift the face of Honiara city. The idea behind constructing this multi million dollar shopping complex was carefully thought of by owner Mr Aaron Zheng. After several failed attempts to secure a building permit at the early stages of construction, independent engineers finally inspected and approved all necessities for the construction to proceed. Mr Zheng a naturalised Solomon Islands citizencame to the Solomon Islands 10 years ago. Mr. Zheng, the owner of AJ Construction company in Solomon Islands decided to invest his millions in building a multi-million dollar shopping Mall at the fringes of Honiara City. In an interview Mr. Zheng told Pacific Tenders the construction of the mall has so far cost him around SBD$55 million, thus he still anticipates an additional $SBD5million to complete his building. The 5-story mall has a total space of 15,000 square meters with 5,000 square meters on each floor. The mall can acco-

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modate up to 100 different compartments including a large conference facility which could accommodate up to 1000 people, 30 office space, super markets, commercial shops, restaurants, a cinema, a riverside bar, a stae of the art gym and other commercial spaces. Mr. Zheng said that this was his biggest investment ever and that his aim was to create a one stops commercial spot located in the Eastern part of Honiara to avoid the city congestion. Mr. Zheng said the construction of AJ City has reached 91% but is expected to slow down given the recent Covid-19 implications. “Due to the Covid-19 emergency status, I had to lay off more than 40 of my workers and this has affected our anticipated work progress. Despite current business uncertainties, i am slowly progressing,” said Zheng. Zheng said given the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation their proposed opening could further delay until September. When complete, shoppers and diners will have the convenience of moving about in the mall by high speed elavator and an escalator. According to Zheng several government ministries and major businesses both local and international have already made tenency offers. n


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INFRASTRUCTURE | ROADS & BRIDGES

ROAD MAINTENANCE

Funding The delivery of road maintenance is problematic in many Pacific countries. When government budgets are stretched to the point where even health spending cannot be adequately funded from government revenue, as is often the case, difficult decisions about priorities need to be made.

BY DAVID SPRING Sydney Australia

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oad maintenance can understandably run low on the budget list, as neither its urgency, nor its criticality to the economy, is immediately apparent. Budgets for capital expenditure are usually prioritised over recurrent expenditure, meaning that sometimes funds allocated for road maintenance are later reallocated to new projects, as new roads are more visible for the public and politicians (an inclination not unique to the Pacific nor developing countries).

History Following the gaining of independence for Pacific nations in the 1970s, most road maintenance was carried out by government owned and operated works crews. The crews were based in regional depots, and undertook the work of routine and periodic maintenance, as directed by government engineers. Many of the engineers had trained under the colonial regimes and employed significant local knowledge of the assets, their performance and the resources at their disposal. This was known as the ‘force account’ system, owing to its use of an account to fund the direct work force. In many developed countries in the 1990s, as governments adopted a neoliberal paradigm, state ownership of utility and service providers went out of favour, and was replaced by outsourcing. This shift was in search of efficiency, to reduce maintenance expenditure. At the encouragement of donors, the trend also began to take hold in developing countries. Yet the regional characteristics were retained, leading to disjointed works priorities and inefficiency of contract delivery and management.

Rise of road funds A review of these maintenance inefficiencies would have readily identified funding reliability and magnitude as the other key bottleneck to the effective delivery of road maintenance. To address this, some governments in the Pacific

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established road transport funds – Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2003 and Solomon Islands in 2010. Road funds had been successful in New Zealand and the United States, and also in Sub-Saharan Africa. These funds came with a range of potential benefits, such as consistency and accountability of funding, multi-year contracting and donor co-ordination, which reduces the donor-service burden on government ministries. In theory, these reforms had the potential to de-politicise road management. In recent years however, the enthusiasm of donors for funding road maintenance has waned. This is not necessarily as a result of the efficacy of the funds themselves – they were well set up and compared favourably to best practice. Indeed, they encountered some early success, such as a broad cross-section of donor engagement and steadily increasing government contributions. However, several dynamics began to work against the ability of the funds to deliver the services for which they were intended, as the political and geopolitical realities of using independent institutions to address governance challenges were realised.

Recent troubles PNG’s road fund was established by the National Road Act 2003, which also established the National Road Authority (NRA) in 2008-09, as an independent agency responsible for road maintenance. This fund was financed by road user charges in the form of a levy on domestically refined diesel fuel. However, the revenue generated by this levy was less than 1.5% of the total government spending on road rehabilitation and maintenance and further levies, which were originally envisaged, were never enacted. Despite optimism that this expansion would occur, a vision to expand the role of NRA to manage all routine maintenance and a 2017 budget action to apply the levy to imported fuels, the NRA has now been absorbed back into the Department of Transport and Infrastructure. Observations of the Solomon Islands’ National Transport Fund (NTF) reveal three dynamics. The first is donor overreach. In a collaborative environment, where there is evi-


INFRASTRUCTURE

A two-lane bridge at Poha, North West Guadalcanal.

dent co-operation on the delivery of national infrastructure priorities, unless the government takes a firm role in setting and driving the agenda, donors will tend to dominate the narrative and the direction, upsetting the balance between diplomatic foreign assistance and national sovereignty. Secondly, the bureaucracy required to run the funds can develop an identity and importance of its own, which may then duplicate existing processes or proliferate new ones. Thirdly, use of the wrong metrics to measure achievement. A simplistic measure of cost per kilometre per year, or kilometres of roads under maintenance contracts, fail to account for the quality and effectiveness of that maintenance, or the costs of administering it. Tellingly, once metrics were used to determine the actual quantum of funding available after 2016, their effect in driving behaviour became more pronounced. At the height of the NTF’s expenditure in 2014-15, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) prepared and commenced a new program, which would pour USD 14 million into the NTF over 5 years, contingent on the achievement of metrics, which are geared towards delivering on sector outcomes and incentivising higher government contributions. Australia’s bilateral program, a founding donor to the NTF, was instrumental in developing the program with ADB. They tried to persuade the government to contribute more to the NTF by matching government contributions. Unfortunately, this measure in particular, miscalculated the value which the government would place on making NTF contributions, by ignoring the increasing reluctance of government to contribute to a fund over which they felt they had lost influence. The program also overestimated the processing capacity of government ministries to administer (design, procure, manage) the workload of contracts. The consequence of all this is that while funding remained available, the throughput of works and new contracts slowed. Voting with their budget allocations, it is clear that the NTF is currently out of favour with both donors and government. With significant investments being made in infrastructure over the next 5-10 years, as a result of the geopolitical environment, none of this new money is being

channelled through the NTF to ensure National Transport Plan priority infrastructure is addressed, nor to ensure adequate maintenance of the new assets is funded that way. Both ADB’s and Australia’s future investment programs are outside of the NTF, and include components of post-construction maintenance in the civil works contracts. World Bank were originally intending to contribute to the NTF, and although they never did, their current road investment program (~USD 15 million) in Malaita takes a similar approach to maintenance. The NTF, as a road maintenance fund, is being stripped of its relevance. The impact of this shift, whether by design or accident, is that road maintenance is being funded by loan proceeds, rather than either grants or the government’s own budget. It is also more likely that large international construction firms will win the contracts to deliver the capital works up front, and thus, the maintenance works. Of course, these firms will engage local contractors as subcontractors (often touted as an opportunity to gain expertise), but it will lead to a more niche, less independent local contracting industry. Community-based contractors will certainly be excluded, removing a useful and hard-to-come-by source of rural income. Note also that the economy-wide viability of this changing model doesn’t tend to figure in economic or financial analyses of these new investment projects.

Is it the system, the funding or the institutions? The asset management strategy should determine the resources needed to maintain assets at an economic level of service, by setting the performance standard that needs to be met (frequency of interventions). In a holistic system, the level of service, the delivery mode for the works, the funding of those works and the costs of administering them, should be considered when allocating budgets. Obtaining clarity on this, and the technical requirements to achieve it, would help align the known asset conditions with the cost of the necessary works. Transparency around this process would

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INFRASTRUCTURE | ROADS & BRIDGES

also help relieve perceptions of provincial inequality in the allocation of priorities. The system to identify, rate and prioritise maintenance works could benefit from a clear asset management strategy. While the system needs work, isn’t funding also the issue? There has long been unchallenged wisdom that routine maintenance should be funded from a government’s recurrent budget. This was on the basis that looking after public roads is a basic government service, demanded by taxpayers, and it doesn’t provide a direct return on investment. An economic case can be made however, for periodic or major upgrades to be funded from loans, as they appear as capital expenditure on the balance sheet. It must firstly be acknowledged that a lack of funds has not always been the constraint for road funds – there have for example been long periods where around AUD 30m sat in the NTF, while procurement of contracts lagged and roads deteriorated. Notwithstanding, and as part of a broader reform away from political considerations in the funding of road maintenance, another funding pathway could be explored. That is, to ignore the routine/upgrade distinction and follow the trajectory of large donor-funded projects, where road maintenance is being secured as a loan-funded add-on to investment projects.

Public-Private Partnerships The next logical step on that trajectory is for public-private partnerships (PPP) to be considered, where up-front private sector funding pays for the capital works and then looks after the new assets for an agreed period, while the government pays it off. Experience around the world shows that, given the right parameters,

The NTF, as a road maintenance fund, is being stripped of its relevance. The impact of this shift, whether by design or accident, is that road maintenance is being funded by loan proceeds, rather than either grants or the government’s own budget.

the private sector is more efficient at looking after roads, especially with a model where the financial incentive is towards preventative maintenance, as it is with PPPs. The risks associated with this level of sophistication of financing however, are higher than those present within the existing government system, including the lack of qualified staff to implement financial management responsibilities, consistent difficulty with funding provision for ministry counterpart funds and a lack of staff and budget for the Ministry of Finance and Treasury’s Internal Audit Office to conduct internal audits. To attract the level and nature of private sector investment required, the prime factor lies in increasing investor confidence in the ability of the government to pay.

Second generation funds In the time gap between when PPPs become viable instead of the current pooled donor/government funding arrangement, a so-called ‘second generation’ road fund could be of great benefit. As we’ve seen, part of the problem is that the costs of road maintenance are beyond the capacity or willingness of government or donors to pay for the works or the administration. The logic of the second generation fund is that it receives funding directly from road users. This is what the PNG fund attempted to do, but without applying representative road user levies or adequately broadening the base of these levies. Levies are ideally in the form of an annual vehicle license or registration fee which effectively charges

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for access to the road network, and/or a levy added to the price of fuel which charges for use of the road network. It is not considered feasible to apply a congestion levy in Pacific cities. These charges would need to be advertised and shown transparently in all transactions – this generates awareness and greater accountability. In this way, road users pay for usage of roads through an explicit road tariff that must be clearly separated from the government’s general taxes. It would be kept separate from consolidated government revenue and deposited into the fund. To meet best practice, private sector representatives would need to be invited to the board, perhaps from the Chamber of Commerce or other relevant industry, business or road user representatives. This increases the accountability of funds use, as road users will now have a much stronger vested interest in how road funding is spent. The reason for the failure of PNG’s road fund and NRA to deliver on this promise is contested, but is more likely a result of a failure to overcome the political challenges to maintenance funding than it was a fault with the fund-and-authority model itself. A second generation road fund would act as a bridge to PPPs – where the confidence of investors in the government, to provide consistent funding for infrastructure would be built

by the growing revenue stream for the road fund. The variability in road user charges collected would reflect actual road use, and thus in theory, be commensurate with deterioration of the road assets.

Towards sustainable road maintenance The effort to prepare and implement a successful fund (second generation or otherwise) must be led by government. They must see the long-term benefit, drive the agenda, mobilise the political will and enable the legislation and regulations to be passed. This is the key role of government in providing a sustainable road maintenance system. Whether or not the government plays this role is very much a matter of politics and, in the Pacific, geopolitics. The role of donors (including potentially new donors) would ideally be greatly reduced in the sector. The distorting effects of bi-lateral and multi-lateral funding and programs is significant – to the local economy, the consulting market and the standard of living. Their funding is sought-after, but it is the future debts, political obligations, sense of ownership and the limits on local ingenuity which are so costly. An economy which can support its own critical infrastructure is unlikely to emerge from donor funding. However, given the Solomon Islands’ and PNG’s role in the international contest for influence in the Pacific, donors will be persistent. And, they can still play a worthy role, in offering technical support, training, lessons learned from


INFRASTRUCTURE | ROADS & BRIDGES

failed and successful models, advocacy on a range of issues and various other services. This support is best guided by government, in line with its own development and growth agenda. What is the role of the private sector in creating a sustainable road maintenance system? The private sector comes in a range of different forms – investors, large international construction firms, local construction firms, consultants, local businesses, representative industry bodies. In this article, it is not practical to tease out the potential roles of each of these actors. But as a collective, to increase the business opportunities that arise, two avenues of advocacy present themselves. Firstly, to increase the prospect of the success of a second generation road fund, government must hear from constituents, industry and their own public service, that road user charges would be welcomed, if obtained and used correctly. Political views are formed on the basis of perceptions of public opinion – resistance or acceptance. Policy-makers therefore need to hear and understand the level of support from the private sector. The private sector are key industry road users and have an outsized interest in the efficiency of road maintenance. Secondly, the private sector can encourage government to set their sights beyond the second generation fund. Politicians typically have a short term horizon, which ends at the next election. Investors and businesses have much longer horizons, to obtain returns on their investments. This is the

perspective that the private sector can project in showing interest in PPPs. The investments, ultimately repaid from road user charges, will serve the long term interests of the economy, as well as helping politicians show they can both deliver infrastructure in the short-term and see beyond the next election. n ..............................................................................................

DAVID SPRING Sydney | Australia

David is an experienced engineer, with over 20 years’ experience in construction, design and international development. David has been working in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as a Team Leader for the past six years, specifically on road and bridgeworks. He worked on intra-ministry roles at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID, Solomon Islands) and led the Cyclone Pam road reconstruction project in Vanuatu, understanding donor requirements and how development projects are procured and delivered. Continuing as a Team Leader for MID and with some corporate responsibilities for Cardno, David seeks to deliver equitable access for communities, which generate social and economic benefits.

ccsil@creditcorp.com.sb www.pacifictenders.com

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PM MARAPE KEEN ON INVESTING IN THE

Food Industry “Solomon Islands & Papua New Guinea are immensely blessed with the necessary resources needed to drive this multi-million dollar Industry” BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

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he Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Honourable James Marape has inspired members of the private sector from both Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to invest in the food production industry and focus more on large scale production and down-stream processing of raw materials. Mr. Marape made his statement during his visit to the Solomons’, at a business luncheon hosted by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) in Honiara. Mr. Marape said eating habits around the world have changed given the increased risk of Non Communicable Diseases and therefore developed nations have shifted their choice of food consumption to healthy food which the Pacific Islands have been blessed with in abundance. “I have done some research on how we can best tap into the food industry and I have come to realize that both Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands can make a lot of money if we invest more on the food and tourism industry. Both our nations combined supply a favorable portion of the world’s Tuna and other fish species which are on high demand not only in Europe but in Asia as well. We are also blessed with fertile lands which if fully utilized can supply a variety of fresh produce to Neighboring Asia. The Asian market is huge and we have the potential to maximize revenue from our resources” said Marape. Mr. Marape compared Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to nations like Israel and New Zealand which despite lacking the lacking fertile land or sizeable landmass have capitalised in these sectors by supplying root crops and vegetables to Asia and other regions in an industrail scale. “We should not make excuses we have the manpower and resources to become great, but it is our dependency mentality that draws us back from realizing our capability and how we can move out from the group of developing countries” Prime Minister Marape said. Mr. Marape then called on his counterpart Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to consider a collaborative approachbetween the two countries to maximize investment in these sectors to encourage growth and economic indepen-

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dence and stability. Mr. Marape also proposed an annual SIPNG business dialogue to be considered to encourage both country’s to strengthen private sector relations and trade. “I would love to see both our countries flourish and if Papua New Guinea has the will to drive change in its economy then I don’t see why Solomon Islands cannot” said Marape. Prime Minister Marape travelled to the Solomon Islands with a 65 member Delegation on 27 February 2020 for a state visit and business exchange. Of the 65 visiting dignitaries, most of the delegates were respective business leaders who took the opportunity to meet and network with members of SICCI. Papua New Guinea currently has more than 50 business registered in Solomon Islands whilst Solomon Islands businesses are yet to fully reciprocate business ventures in Papua New Guinea. Mr. Marape and his entourage left Solomon Islands via private chatter and commercial flights on 29 February, two days after completing their visit in Solomon Islands. n

SICCI supports PM Marape’s call to focus on productive and resources sector

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hairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Mr Jay Bartlett has supported a call made by Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Hon James Marape for Solomon Islands to focus on the Agriculture, Aquaculture and Tourism sectors as the means to sustain the country’s economy. Mr Bartlett said Hon Marape’s vision for PNG to develop these sectors specifically the Agriculture sector is one Solomon Islands as a nation should consider. The PNG Prime Minister made a three-day state visit to Solomon Islands recently and addressed both Government and private sector representatives from both countries at a business luncheon hosted by SICCI where he spoke of the destination, he wants to take PNG to, through the development of these important sectors.


INFRASTRUCTURE

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Hon. James Marape (left) being greeted by SICCI Chairman Jay Bartlett at the Business Luncheon.

“Agriculture is a strategic growth sector for Solomon Islands given the vast natural resources, and as such, we look forward to responsible stakeholders working collaboratively to chart a course toward greater success in this sector,” Mr Bartlett said. “There is a need for Government to engage and support our rural population since 85 percent of our population in the rural areas depend on agriculture and are already engaged in subsistence farming for their livelihoods.” SICCI further highlighted as well that the Solomon Islands Government must commit resources and knowledge management to the productive and resource sectors to maximise value-added output and achieve greater and more sustainable economic growth. “Focusing on our productive and resource sectors is also important for food security, finding ways to improve local production, identify high value crops that can be grown successfully locally, look at various options on how to increase local agriculture production that we can become self-sufficient in the future reducing dependency on imported produce,” Mr Bartlett said. “Agriculture, Aquaculture and Tourism are sectors that are close to the lives of ordinary Solomon Islanders which offer great potential for growth and more importantly job creation considering the rate in which our population is growing,” he added. For Solomon Islands, economic growth has relied excessively on logging but with the decline seen in the logging industry, agricultural exports can be a sustainable substitute and the same can be said of the other productive and resources sectors. “Diversification will be instrumental in minimising the sensitivity of the country’s economy to negative economic shocks caused by external factors as in the case of climate change and changing weather patterns, as well as, sustainable reforestation and the transition from extractive logging industry,” Mr Bartlett said.

PNG Prime Minister, Hon James Marape when speaking at the business luncheon in Honiara on Friday 28th February, highlighted that both PNG and Solomon Islands have underestimated their potentials in the resources sector especially in agriculture, tourism and aquaculture. Hon Marape made a comparison of Solomon Islands with a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres to Israel with a total land area of 22,145 square kilometres, which is smaller in land area compared to Solomon Islands. “The nation of Israel is small in land mass and their land is not arable like Solomon Islands. They (Israel) have rocks and deserts. Yet, Israel’s agricultural export is in billions to Europe using technology and their strategic close location to Europe. “Solomon Islands has fertile land and have rain throughout the year so you have potential also in Agriculture. “Solomon Islands have potential also in fish and aquaculture. At a rate of 6.5% per annum in the aquaculture consumption space, the world has a $70 billion worth in the demand for fish, marine and aquaculture resources by 2022.” “The Pacific Island waters produce 70% of the world’s tuna supply so Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea can combine into those spaces,” Hon Marape said. “We don’t need to build skyscrapers; we don’t have to build big technology and follow the pace of development other nations had gone through. We can step by step look into the space of food, agriculture, aquaculture and tourism. And you can sustain your economy,” he added. He said both PNG and Solomon Islands are now breaking barriers with bilateral relationships with nations in Asia, hence, the market place is there for both countries. “Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, from our seas and from our lands, using technology for marketing and improving productivity, we can stand to supply Asia. We cannot supply all, but we can supply the niche market that we establish contact with through political connections for the growth of agriculture.

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“I encourage business people in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to not only focus on traditional business that you can engage in. The Asian market place is there to be tapped, both for import of tourists and export of our own producs especially in the food industry,” Hon Marape said. The PNG Prime Minister said we should look to transfer the gains from our depleted non-renewable resources into agriculture, fisheries, hospitality and the tourism industry so that our people can truly be rich going into the future. “When talking about rich, I’m not talking about money only. I’m talking about every citizen in our countries being satisfied with their lives. “The destination I want to take PNG to connotes to satisfaction of life and not wanting to find a better life. It doesn’t only connote to money, it connotes to fullness of life, that they (citizens) are happy they are from PNG, that they are happy they are from Solomon Islands, that they are happy they are from this part of the world, and we don’t dream to

live in the US. We don’t dream to live elsewhere. This is our home we must enjoy life in a country that God has given us. “Richness does not only mean deep pockets, but a country must satisfy its citizens to the fullest and ensure that they fully empower themselves,” he said. The future Hon Marape wants for PNG, and encourages Solomon Islands to also think in that space, is to maximise the potential of their sea and land resources taking into consideration the demand for commodities will increase with growing demand in the world market and world population. “Through firmly based SMEs, that’s the structure of business we want to set up for Papua New Guinea. The food industry, agriculture and aquaculture as well as tourism lays the potential and we can do well for our people,” PNG Prime Minister, Hon Marape, finished. The Prime Minister of PNG and his 65-strong delegation were hosted by SICCI members on Friday 28th February at a business luncheon held at the Mendana Hotel in Honiara. n

GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE MARKET ACCESS THROUGH BONALE PINEAPPLE PROJECT

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he Solomon Islands Government (SIG) is anticipating the implementation of the Bonale Pineapple Project in West Kwaio soon. The project will be implemented through the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labor and Immigration (MCILI). The project is currently progressing very well and expected to operate soon. All architectural designs, building tenders and majority of the technical phase of the project is already completed. MCILI is now developing the business model which would ‘best fit’ for this project. When in operational this project would allow people from Bina Harbour Area in West Kwaio to access market for their pineapple produce. The SIG acknowledges that West Kwaio farmers produce some of the sweetest pineapple in the country. The Government further understands the difficulties

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faced by farmers in marketing their produce. The government also recognizes that working together with all relevant stakeholders in this national project is the way forward. Parties to this National Project include the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labor and Immigration, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination and the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Other parties include Malaita Provincial Government being the host province and the Bonale Land Trust board. The Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) is fully committed to the delivery of ongoing and prospective policy priorities in the interests of national unity and stability, lasting peace and economic advancement. n


INFRASTRUCTURE TOURISM

BUSINESSES brace for another challenging year SICCI MEDIA Honiara Solomon Islands

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he sentiments shared among businesses who are members of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) is that the last twelve (12) months have been some of the most challenging. During these past 12 months, Solomon Islands as a country went through a period of uncertainties, especially among businesses. In 2019, the country held its National General Elections (NGE) took a major shift in its foreign policy and a sudden change in the wage structure in regards to the 100% increase of the legal minimum wage. “Many have been optimistic about 2020, but unfortunately this may not be the case. “As the Central Bank has highlighted recently in their media statement, the impact of the global pandemic [ COVID-19) could potentially have far reaching impacts on our health, our economy and our way of life as we know it,” Jay Bartlett, SICCI Chairman, said in his address on the occasion of the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 25th March. The Chamber have raised in the past Solomon Islands’ vulnerability with a narrow economic base that is too reliant on resources which leaves the country exposed have global fluctuations in commodity prices and the urgent need to act to diversify our base. CBSI has said the coronavirus will likely have a considerable negative impact on the Solomon Islands economy. “The spread and considerable disruption of this pandemic will be exacerbated by the increasingly intertwined trade and investment relationships between Chi-

Heritage Park Hotel is among the top hotels in Solomon Islands currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. SICCI Media

na and its neighbours in the Asia Pacific region. Being a small open economy, the Solomon Islands will likely be adversely affected through the trade channel and thereafter the economy, and even fiscal operations,” the CBSI statement highlighted. Mr Bartlett said the Chamber have risen to challenges faced in the past and calls on all member businesses to be ready to face what is in front of us. “In the past when we as a nation have faced significant challenges, we have proven to be resilient. And today is no different. We are in uncharted waters as a nation, region and people,” he said. Mr Bartlett said as a Chamber and business, the urgency before us is to come together to achieve three things, to protect people and their livelihoods, to keep people employed and support their families and support our local businesses during this challenging period. “In the coming days we need to be prepared for some of the changes that will be put in place that will restrict our personal liberties, our businesses and our engagement with the world at large. “For the economy we need to act like there is a crisis before we actually get into one and we will be working closely with our political leadership to look at what measures can be put in place to give the support in the areas that needed it the most,” the SICCI Chair said. He said now more than ever, there will be a greater need for leadership and direction from our National leaders and information sharing and collaboration from our Financial Institutions such as Central Bank, National Provident Fund, Commercial Banks and State-Owned Enterprises. And communication and action from our Civil Society, Churches and Communities. n

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The World Bank team during their visits to one of the project sites in Honiara

World Bank Recognizes CAUSE’s Progress BY LAURENCE NODUA CAUSE Country Office, Honiara

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team of World Bank officials led by Ms. Sonya Woo from the Sydney based office have travelled to Solomon Islands and successfully reviewed the Community Access and Urban Services Enhancement Project (CAUSE). During the visit the team met with implementing agencies, participating provincial government authorities of Western and Malaita, other donors and stakeholders on the progress of CAUSE Project in Solomon Islands. The visit, also referred to as the 3rd Implementation Support Mission was an activity the Bank team regularly undertook every six months, to review and provide support to the project in terms of implementation and achieving its development objectives. The team visited several CAUSE subprojects implemented in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Auki, Gizo and Noro and were pleased with the outcome of the project interventions in all the project sites. The team found that infrastructure and service delivery training and work investments consisting of community based waste management services, pedestrian and access infrastructure and community based road maintenance and rehabilitation activities implemented by private contractors are now underway in all six project locations across Guadalcanal, Malaita and Western provinces -- training almost 1,400 beneficiaries (26 percent of the 5,300 target of which 54 percent are women and 45 percent youth between the ages of 16 – 29 years); engaging about 2,200 beneficiaries (36 percent women and 43 percent youth) in job focused interventions; and creating almost 50,000 labor days (22 percent of the overall target). The team was particularly impressed by the significant

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progress in the provincial locations where despite the delayed start, they are now almost back to the original schedule planned in 2019. CAUSE has already completed 16 access infrastructure subprojects, ongoing work on 11 subprojects, awarded 165 contracts to community groups on waste cleaning, and awarded 8 road maintenance works contracts. Disbursement has already reached USD 4.2 million or 28% of its available budget as of end October 2019, or around 15 months after the project became effective in July 2018. Team leader Sonya Woo, speaking acknowledged the National Government, Honiara City Council, MID, Governments of Western, Malaita and Guadalcanal for the continuous support in ensuring the project’s successfully implementation in the vulnerable communities. CAUSE Project is a project of the Solomon Islands Government that is being implemented by the Honiara City Council and Ministry of Infrastructure Development funded by a grant from the World Bank. n

Kwaibala Community to receive new steel Foot Bridge For more than 30 years people living up the Kwaibala area in Auki, Malaita Province have been using a log to cross over a river to their villlage. The log that they used as a makeshift bridge is believed to be more than 100 years old. However, over the years the log has exhausted its durability and could no longer sustain crossings. Towards the end of 2018 the CAUSE Project broke ground at Kwaibala and the construction of a new steel bridge begun. Following the ground breaking ceremony


INFRASTRUCTURE

The newly constructed steel Bridge at Kwabala, village in Malaita Province

there were still doubts amongst the community as to whether the project would eventuate since provincial and national leaders failed to deliver on their promises. Given the circumstances the CAUSE project team mobilised and started work on the technical design and bit by bit the steel and concrete structure took shape. Mesack Tuafai a resident at Kwaibala said he was very pleased to witness the success of this development. “For many years children and elderly people have used this log as the only means to cross the river from both

ends. At times when it rains the log gets slippery and people find it hard to pass. But with this new footbridge now ready to be commissioned I am grateful to CAUSE Project for this,� said Taufai. The new foot bridge is almost completed with only a handful of finishing touches remaining and will soon provide safe and increased access to and from their communities. The footbridge is implemented by CAUSE Project with funding from the World Bank. n

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INFRASTRUCTURE HEALTHCARE

$17M CT Scan Project to roll out in 2020 BY ESTHER NURIA Honiara Solomon Islands

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he Ministry of Health and Medical Service’s SBD $17 million project is expected to commence this year with the contract understood to have already been awarded through the relevant tender process. ccording to the 2020 Appropriation Bill 2019 the government has already allocated funds through its Ministry of Health and Medical Services for this significant project. In a statement late 2019 before parliament went into “Sine Die” the Minister for Police and National Security and Correctional Services Hon. Samuel Manetoali on behalf of the Minister for Health and Medical Services (MOH) while discussing the 2019 Appropriations Bill said the CT scan project would kick start in 2020. The CT scan project which comes under the Thesauri

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Health Care Services program will be located near the radiology building at the National Referral Hospital. In an interview with Pacific Tenders, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Procurement Director Mr. Layton Jacob said Hatanga Limited has won the bid for the first phase of the project which will include the design and construction of the CT scan housing facility. “We have awarded Hatanga on the 6th of November 2019 the contract to design and construct the CT scan project,” said Mr Jacob. He further explained the second component of the project, Phase II is the CT scan project management where the tender process is yet to be finalized by the CT scan Interim Manager Dr. Aaron Oritaemae. The total contractual amount for the first phase of the project which was awarded to Hatanga is SBD$10,680,410.98 million dollars and the remaining SBD$6,319,589.02 million dollars will be reserved for the second phase of the project, the CT scan Project Management. n


FISHERIES

Solomons expecting HIKE in tuna revenue BY FRANCIS PITUVAKA Press Officer Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources SIG

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evenue collected through licenses is set to hit an alltime high this fishing season as more fishing days are being sold to the major fishing nations. The licensing section in the Ministry of Fisheries has experienced an increase in the number of requests from bilateral partners asking for more fishing days because of high yield expected this fishing season. A check on the harbour has shown that more boats both Purse Seine and Carriers are calling into port for transhipment. It is anticipated with the increase in fishing activities, residents of Honiara will be expecting to see more boats in the harbour during the first quarter of this year. No one ever thought the fishing season will improve this quarter however, with the change in temperatures between the

Both La Niña and El Niño events tend to develop during the Northern Hemisphere spring (March to June), peak during late fall and winter (November to February), then weaken the following spring into summer (March to June). El Niño (meaning “the Christ child”) earned its name because of its usual appearance around Christmas time. What Causes La Niña Events You can think of La Niña (and El Niño) events as water sloshing in a bathtub. Water in the equatorial regions follows the patterns of the trade winds. Surface currents are then formed by the winds. Winds always blow from areas of high pressure to low pressure; the steeper the gradient difference in the pressure, the faster the winds will move from highs to lows. Off the coast of South America, changes in air pressure during a La Niña event cause winds to increase in intensity. Normally, winds blow from the eastern Pacific to the warmer western Pacific. The winds create the surface currents that literally blow the top layer of water of the ocean westward. As the warmer water is “moved” out of the way by the wind, colder waters are exposed to the surface off the western coast of South America. These waters carry important nutrients from deeper ocean depths. The colder waters are important to fishing industries and the nutrient cycling of the ocean. How La Niña Years Differ

ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific (i.e. from El Nino to La Nina), the tuna stocks moved back into Solomons EEZ. Spanish for “little girl,” La Niña is the name given to the large-scale cooling of sea surface temperatures across the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is one part of the larger and naturally occurring ocean-atmosphere phenomenon known as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation or ENSO (pronounced “en-so”) cycle. La Niña conditions recur every three to seven years and typically last from 9 to 12 months up to 2 years. One of the strongest La Niña episodes on record was that of 1988-1989 when ocean temperatures fell as much as seven Fahrenheit below normal. The last La Niña episode occurred during late 2016, and some evidence of La Niña was seen in January of 2018. La Niña vs. El Niño A La Niña event is the opposite of an El Niño event. Waters in the equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean are unseasonably cool. The cooler waters affect the atmosphere above the ocean, causing significant changes in climate, though usually not as significant as the changes that occur during an El Niño. In fact, the positive effects on the fishing industry make La Niña less of a news item than an El Niño event.

During a La Niña year, the trade winds are unusually strong, leading to increased movement of water towards the western Pacific. Much like a giant fan blowing across the equator, the surface currents that form carry even more of the warmer waters westward. This creates a situation where the waters in the east are abnormally cold and the waters in the west are abnormally warm. Because of the interactions between the temperature of the ocean and the lowest air layers, the climate is affected worldwide. Temperatures in the ocean affect the air above it, creating shifts in climate that can have both regional and global consequences. How La Niña Affects Weather and Climate Rain clouds form as a result of the lifting of warm, moist air. When the air doesn’t get its warmth from the ocean, the air above the ocean is abnormally cool above the eastern Pacific. This prevents the formation of rain, often needed in these areas of the world. At the same time, the waters in the west are very warm, leading to increased humidity and warmer atmospheric temperatures. The air rises and the number and intensity of rainstorms increase in the western Pacific. As the air in these regional locations changes, so too does the pattern of circulation in the atmosphere, thereby affecting climate worldwide. Monsoon seasons will be more intense in La Niña years, while the western equatorial portions of South America may be in drought conditions. In the United States, the states of Washington and Oregon may see increased precipitation while portions of California, Nevada, and Colorado may see drier conditions. n

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AUSTRALIA’S DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT TOWARDS TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN BOUGAINVILLE (2019-2020) BY DAVID SPRING Sydney Australia

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he government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a long-standing bilateral agreement with the Australian government, including in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The overall objectives of the partnership are to support peace, stability and economic growth, in line with the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, to which Australia was also a signatory witness. In practical terms, PNG and Autonomous Bougainville governments have implemented the bilateral program to strengthen governance and service delivery, increase economic growth and promote social cohesion through peace building activities. Current levels of development assistance (2019-20) from Australia to Bougainville are at approximately AUD 36.3 million.

Transport Infrastructure Under the overall development assistance financing one of the key areas of program investment is the transport sector (AUD 8 million); in particular, transport infrastructure. Bougainville has approximately 600 km of main roads in the network, stretching from north to south on the east coast, and to Central and South Bougainville around Mount Takuan. National Priority Road 16, from Buka (Kokopau) to Arawa, has been described as the economic and social lifeblood of the island. Approximately 80 per cent of the population, school and health facilities are within around seven kilometres of the main roads network. With such meaning placed on the roads, it follows that maintaining reliable and safe roads means a better chance for businesses and citizens to access markets and critical services. The mechanism for delivering this necessary road maintenance under Australia’s bilateral support, is the Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP). Commencing in 2007 and evolving into a second phase (TSSP2) in 2014, the program has focused on reform in public sector line agencies; central agency engagement; and prioritised transport asset maintenance. Some recent key projects include the reseal of road between Arawa town and Kieta Port, and the sealing of town roads in Arawa. This reflects an increasing priority on rehabilitation and periodic maintenance, not only routine maintenance. The design of TSSP2 recognises that road maintenance and asset management in Bougainville must be treated somewhat differently from other areas in PNG. Unlike other areas of PNG, the lack of capacity and resources to plan and deliver maintenance meant that during the first phase

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of TSSP, the managing consultant acted as the effective asset manager of the network. Whilst this model is effective in maintaining the roads, such external support is not sustainable in the long term and is at odds with the autonomy intent of the Peace Agreement. So, TSSP2 will continue to maintain up to 400 km of Bougainville’s main road network. However, in parallel with a focus on road maintenance, local employment and sealing of roads along important economic corridors, TSSP2 will seek to improve the systems, sector engagement, performance and accountability of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government’s Division of Technical Services (DTS). The objective is to enable DTS to eventually be responsible for road asset management and maintenance in Bougainville (AusAID, 2013).

Capacity building The need for improving competency, experience and skills in the management of the road network is not a recent issue. Pre-TSSP, in 2004 AusAID funded a comprehensive package of training courses aimed at personnel who were working in the Bougainville road industry, at the time. The courses, which were delivered by the New Zealand Institute of Highway Technology, included education in business management, road construction techniques and contract management. Until 2017, TSSP provided capacity building assistance to DTS and also delivered several one off courses to the contracting industry, such as the Safer Road Infrastructure Workshop held in Buka in 2016. TSSP also worked in conjunction with the Justice Services and Stability for Development (JSS4D) program (also Australian funded). As a result, initiatives to develop Young Women’s Associations have now been incorporated in the executive and district levels of the Bougainville Women’s Federation. Other practical training in financial literacy was delivered in partnership with MiBank in 2017. More than 120 people took part in a four-day workshop, where participants learned about budgeting and saving, as well as how to use the mobile banking systems. An analysis showed this to be successful in getting Community Roadwork Contractors to operate bank accounts (well, it was compulsory!) (AROB, 2017). However, there have been no comprehensive training packages aimed at the both the public and private sectors


INFRASTRUCTURE | ROADS & BRIDGES

Australia funded bridge in Bougainville

in Bougainville since 2004. TSSP and TSSP2 delivered a broad range of training and support for capacity building activities across PNG’s Department of Works and agencies including: > >

> > > >

Training of key regulatory staff Technical assessments of appropriate key equipment and technologies required to achieve compliance and regional compatibility Mentoring and guidance Engineering technical assistance Data collection activities within agencies Technical assistance to design, contract and manage research activities – evidence, safety, gender issues, resource targeting

Throughout 2018-19, a specific program of capacity building was delivered in Bougainville, through a combination of hands-on-training, workshops and consultations. For the first time, a dedicated specialist was appointed to manage and deliver the program. The intent was to build and enhance the professional and technical capacity of personnel responsible for the planning, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of land transport infrastructure in Bougainville. As the roadworks are delivered through outsourcing to private contracting firms, including community-based companies, the needs assessment identified the contracting sector to have the most urgent need for support, in the areas of development of business management, competitive tendering and contract management skills.

Rather than focussing on teaching government systems or regulations, the training program focussed on first principles and practical issues. Topics covered included the tendering process, contract administration, work planning, health and safety, environmental monitoring, social, gender, HIV/AIDS and child protection awareness. The centrepiece of the training was a series of four workshops, covering: > >

How to Successfully Plant the Seeds and Grow a Business (Parts 1 and 2); and How to Successfully Tender for and Manage Contracts (Parts 1 and 2).

The future With the passage of the independence referendum in November 2019, the future of governance and sovereignty of Bougainville remains uncertain. This uncertainty casts doubt over the way that roads will be funded and maintained. The decade long civil war resulted in neglect of the roads and has taken a 15-20 year effort to restore and maintain them. In addition, upskilling DTS and contractors to manage and maintain those roads, recognised as the ‘lifeblood’ of the community, cannot be allowed to be wasted. Which ever way the governments of PNG and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville agree to distribute power, it is vital that current levels of public and private sector engagement in road maintenance can continue their trajectory of improvement. n

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TINA RIVER HYDRO BEGINS IMPLEMENTATION Financing packages for the Tina River Hydropower Development Project estimated to reach USD $240 million ow fina ised t is ma or mi estone or t e me awatt dropower in rastr ct re pro ect c ears t e wa or constr ction to commence ate an ar .

BY SARINA LAWRENCE TRHP Media

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ix financing organisations have come together to make the vision for clean renewable energy and more affordable electricity, a reality for the government and its people. The project is being financed through a combination of loans and grants; with a final cost for building the hydropower dam and station alone, estimated at USD $184 million. The Solomon Island Government has been dedicated to supporting the preparations of this complex nation-building project for more than 10 years and recognises this milestone as hugely important for the first large-scale infrastructure to be developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) in the Solomon Islands. “This is a historic moment for Solomon Islands,” said Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare. “It will deliver cheaper power to the people of Solomon Islands and

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signals to investors that Solomon Islands is ready for big projects and partnerships. This first public private partnership infrastructure project in Solomon Islands opens the door for more, which will support much needed development, offering our people a better standard of living and more opportunities.” The project symbolises a positive step forward for the people of the Solomon Islands who are eagerly watching the largest development project in the history of the country unfold. Organisations and governments worldwide will also be closely watching, as it’s primed to deliver vital benefits to the developing country. The reduction in the cost of electricity for its people and an end to the country’s near-total reliance on diesel fuel for power ensuing a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, are amongst the project’s most anticipated outcomes. The World Bank Group has been supporting the government of Solomon Islands on the project for more than 10 years. IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank


ENERGY

and member of the World Bank Group, helped put in place the public private partnership with project preparation, the investor selection process, negotiation of project agreements and the final financing agreement package. “We are pleased to have supported the government of Solomon Islands by structuring a way to bring in the private sector to help the nation’s major shift from imported diesel to renewable energy,” said IFC’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. Vivek Pathak. “With the support of Australia, New Zealand and the multi-donor facility, DevCo, the agreement now in place shows how governments and the private sector can work together on key infrastructure projects to help nations wanting cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy for their people,” Mr. Pathak said. With equipment already arriving on the docks and construction on the immediate horizon, the Solomon Island Government has entrusted the project build to K Water, the Korean government’s water resources company who are experts in constructing and managing hydropower projects. Their first task was to commence the construction of the access road, worth USD $26 million, in late January 2020. When completed and operational in 2024, it will demonstrate the Solomon Islands are ready to execute big projects on a world stage. For a nation with a government eager to build a brighter future for its people, the financing of the development of Tina River Hydro will attract further investment opportunities and new jobs. n

The World Bank

The Green Climate Fund

Asian Development Bank

“The World Bank has been supporting the Solomon Islands bring Tina River Hydro to life since 2008, when the Solomon Islands Government first sought our help to look at potential options for to deliver safe, reliable and affordable renewable electricity to Solomon Islanders,” said World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Michel Kerf. “Since then, we have been proud to support Solomon Islands to bring this project to where it is today: with funding secured, environmental and social safeguards in place, financing arrangements locked in, and soon – the start of construction on what will be a landmark development project for the country.”

“The Green Climate Fund is pleased to see the Tina River Hydropower Development Project kicking off, as it will help to transform the energy system in the Solomon Islands by providing clean and affordable power and cutting reliance on imported fossil-fuels”, said Jerry Velasquez, Director of GCF’s Mitigation and Adaptation Division. “An effective partnership between public and private sectors is critical to executing major climate infrastructure projects. We look forward to working with the World Bank and other partners to support climate action in the country.”

Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department, Carmela Locsin, stressed the path breaking Tina River hydropower project’s contribution to ADB’s Strategy 2030 priorities. “This transformational project must be commended for its drive to address remaining poverty and reduce equalities, accelerate progress in gender equality, tackle climate change, build climate and disaster resilience, and enhance environmental sustainability, through a private sector investment in a small island developing state.”

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ENERGY

Tina River Hydro Project Deputy Project Manager Fred Conning (left) and a Hyundai Engineer leading the Norwegian Non-Resident Ambassador to Solomon His Excellency Paul Gulleik Larsen during a visit to Tina Hydro construction campsite Islands

A BOOST FOR LOCAL

EMPLOYMENT Tina Hydro delivers employing 31 locals in the first quarter of 2020 BY SARINA LAWRENCE TRHP Media

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here are now 31 new members of the Tina Hydropower Development Project construction team as locals fill both skilled and unskilled labour positions. Supporting local communities in the Guadalcanal region with employment opportunities is a priority for the Solomon Island Government as preparations on the Hydropower Project continue with certainty in these unprecedentedly challenging times. Since Christmas, project construction

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partners Hyundai Engineering Company (HEC), have worked with the Project Office under the guidance of the Community Benefit Sharing Program (CBSP) team, to reach out to communities with employment opportunities. Positions are being filled by locals in the pre-construction phase which has included work on the campsite and preparation work for the upcoming access road construction. While Tina is a national project of the Solomon Islands and is set to deliver benefits to the entire country with more affordable electricity, the project remains committed to offering employment to people residing in the Bahomea Malango Cultural community. This is a crucial element of the implementation of the Community Benefit Sharing Program, designed to provide benefits in the way of improvements to infrastructure and services as well as training and employment opportunities to host communities. The Project, during this initial phase of construction, has seen the engagement of Labours, Engineers, Carpenters, Office workers and Security personnel. The Project is expected to provide 350 job opportunities during peak construction allowing

more locals to be part of the team. Central Guadalcanal community based companies such as Vatumarasa Holdings, who are preparing gravel for the construction of the workers camp, have also been engaged in an effort to keep opportunities local. “There are enough hardworking people in Honiara with the skills and willingness to be trained to work as a part of the construction team,” says Mr Ha, Deputy Project Manager of HEC. “We are committed to building a local team and sourcing local companies to partner with.” Advertising to recruit local residents to fill more positions will continue over the coming months along with the appointment of a HR Consultancy Firm in May to assist with fulfilling employment requirements and create a database to manage the process. The project, which is due to be completed and commissioned in 2024, is moving ahead and remains crucial to delivering economic and social benefits to the people of the Solomon Islands. Jobs will continue to be advertised by the Projects partners in local newspapers, on the radio and the project’s Facebook Page @ tinahydro. n


ENERGY

MIGA Covers K-Water & HEC Investment in Solomon Islands’ First Hydropower Project

ina i er dropower e e opment ro ect wi e p red ce dependenc on imported diese e a oid . mi ion tons o TINA RIVER HYDRO PROJECT OFFICE

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he Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, has issued guarantees that will support the development, financing, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Tina River Hydropower Development Project in the Solomon Islands. The guarantees, issued to Korea Water Resources Corporation (‘K-Water’) and Hyundai Engineering Co., Ltd. (‘HEC’) and amounting to US$14.094 million, cover 90 percent of the equity investments and future earnings in the Project for up to 20 years through Tina Hydropower Limited. These guarantees provide protections against Currency Inconvertibility & Transfer Restriction, Expropriation, Breach of Contract, and War & Civil Disturbance. The US$240.8 million project, financed primarily through concessional loans and grants from DFIs, consists of a 15-megawatt (MW) hydropower plant and associated 72-meter-high roller-compacted- concrete dam located on the Tina River, about 30 kilometers south-east of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The Tina River Hydropower Development Project is the first utility-scale hydropower project to be developed in the Solomon Islands. Once operational in about five years from now, all the electricity generated by the Project will be sold to the state-owned power utility, Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, under a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement. “We are pleased to be supporting our first project in the

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Solomon Islands,” MIGA Executive Vice President Hiroshi Matano said. “By decreasing the country’s dependency on imported diesel, the project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase access to electricity across the islands.” When operational, the Project is expected to reduce retail electricity tariffs without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It is also anticipated to create greater access to electricity by significantly driving down the retail electric tariff, and diesel generation totaling to 30 MW. The Project will also generate significant economic flows into the country by displacing diesel generation, resulting in a reduction of 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the life of the Project. Deug Jung Kim, K-water Vice President and Chief International Officer remarked, “K-water is proud to be investing in the project which will help spur economic growth of the Solomon Islands. We thank both Hyundai Engineering and MIGA for the great partnership” Communities across the Solomon Islands have uneven access to grid-connected electricity, with 66 percent of residents in Honiara having access, and less than 10 percent in other regions of the country. The Solomon Islands have also experienced a consistently low rate of foreign private investment. MIGA’s private sector guarantees and the Tina River Hydropower Development Project help to build confidence in large-scale investment projects, subsequently encouraging more foreign equity investing the Solomon Islands. n

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INFRASTRUCTURE

TWELVE NEW BRIDGES OPEN FOR TRAFFIC ON NEW BRITAIN HIGHWAY

Bridges connect people, grow the economy and build the nation

BY HARLYNE JOKU Port Moresby PNG

The lifeline of West New Britain people Oil Palm trees along the New Britain Highway.

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highway. The Department of Works and Implementation (DOW) invited a delegation of VIPs to attend the event. I was fortunate to travel there as a freelance journalist to witness and cover the official opening of a new concrete-structured Korori Bridge at Lavage village. The Korori bridge model is designed to last 100 years and is a model for the other 12 bridges along the highway. We boarded a first class Prime Minister’s charter taking off from Jackson domestic airport at about 9 am and landed an hour five minutes later at Hoskins, West New Britain. As the delegation disembarked at Hoskins, a brief welcome ceremony was held on the tarmac led by the Governor of West New Britain, Kevin Maneke. School students lined up to greet the delegation, placing leis around the visitors’ necks. The provincial police and Correction Institute Services (CIS) accorded a guard of honor to welcome Works and Implementation Minister Michael Nali, who represented Prime Minister, James Marape.

t was an honor and a rare opportunity to travel first class on a government chartered Air Niugini Fokker 100 from Port Moresby’s Jackson international airport to Hoskins airport, and back the same day. We visited the ‘Oil Palm’ province to witness the opening of a new bridge, constructed under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of PNG’s (Go-PNG) 12 Bridge’s Program. Upon arrival at Hoskins airport, an air conditioned 25-seater bus takes us on a pleasant 45 minutes drive along a sealed and well maintained New Britain Highway. The highway stretches between kilometers of lush oil palm plantations. School children and Oil Palm farmers line both sides of the road waving and welcoming the delegation. Thursday 12th March 2020 was a special day marking the opening of one of the first bridges constructed under the ADB/Go-PNG 12 Bridge program along the New Britain

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INFRASTRUCTURE | ROADS & BRIDGES

The project aims to improve access to markets and social service for the rural population by constructing 27 new permanent two lane bridges along the Magi, Hiritano, Sepik, Ramu and the New Britain Highways. A traditional dance group welcomed Minister Nali, State Enterprise Minister and Regional MP for West New Britain Sasindran Muthuvel, ADB Country Director David Hill, WNB Governor Maneke and presented the government delegation with a live pig along with some taro and bananas. The VIPs were escorted to their vehicles while the DOW support staff and the media team get into two 25-seater buses to begin our 45 km journey from Hoskins Kimbe Highway turning left onto the New Britain Highway to Korori Bridge, near Lavage village, Central Nakanai. All along the highway, school children and oil palm residents lined the road sides with flowers and beaming smiles that radiated with the warmth of their welcome for the government delegation’s visit, and for the road network that has made life all the more easier. We arrived at Lavage village at about 11.30 am. Again a crowd, school children and traditional dancing groups greeted us and led the VIPs to the stage for the official ceremony. Of the 12 bridges, eight were completed while the last four bridges were near completion, at the time of writing, The project was undertaken by China Jiangsu International, made possible under the ADB GoPNG co – financed Bridge Replacement for Improved Rural Access Programme (BRIRAP) with K112 million funding. Works and Implementation Secretary David Wereh in his opening remarks said the Department of Works and Implementation is proud to announce the official opening of the 12 bridges. “Better bridges connect people, grow the economy and build the nation…,” Mr Wereh said. He added that in relation to the government’s Medium Term Development Plans and under the National Transport Strategy 2010 – 2030, it is forecasted that 85 per cent of rural communities will have access to better and safer road transport services via a good transportation infrastructure and service network. “DOW’s new bridge replacement plan will contribute towards achieving that target under the ongoing BRIRAP program with funding support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB),” Mr Wereh said.

He said that Package 2B of the BRIRAP bridge rollout program is currently nearing completion and will run a total cost of around US$32 million (est. K112m) based on Detailed Engineering Design (DED) and current exchange rates. ADB Country Director David Hill in his remarks said as a partner to government, the ADB takes great lengths to plan and design projects in such a way as to mitigate risks, to hedge against those factors that could derail a project. “ We do this to try to ensure not only the delivery of expected outputs, outcomes and impacts for you as the project beneficiaries, who will use the facilities, but also to assist in achieving value for money which is very important for a developing country like PNG. “However implementation is always the most difficult job and this is largely the role of the government…who has direct responsibility for procurement and project and contract management. “On this project like many projects, despite some unexpected implementation issues, the government through the Department of Works persevered and successfully delivered the project within the budgeted loan amount,” Mr Hill said.

The new Korori Bridge was officially opened by the PNG Works Minister Michael Nali representing Prime Minister James Marape last Thursday (12th of March 2020) near Lavage village, Central Nakanai along the New Britain Highway - West New Britain province. The Minister for State Enterprise and Regional Member for West New Britain Sasindran Muthuvel, The ADB (Asian Development Bank) Country Director David Hill and West New Britain Governor Kevin Maneke participated at the event. Photo Harlyne Joku.

Background BRIRAP as it is widely known was approved on 28th of September, 2011 with an ADB financing of $ US 90 million out of a total project cost of US$100 million. The project aims to improve access to markets and social services for the rural population by constructing 27 new permanent two lane bridges along the Magi, Hiritano, Sepik, Ramu and the New Britain Highways. ADB through BRIRAP created new partnership opportunities with the European Investment Bank who provided additional financing to finance the construction of the nine bridges along the Sepik and Ramu Highways where work is ongoing.

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Under the ADB finance component of BRIRAP, the Department of Works successfully constructed six bridges along the Magi and Hiritano highways which were open to traffic in August 2017. Mr Hill said the successful completion of these eight bridges is part of a long and difficult journey. He added that like any other contract the, this package experienced its shares of dilemmas and challenges due to many unfavorable conditions and circumstances during implementation. “But DOW ‘s sheer determination and resolve to remain steadfast to ADB’s guidelines ensured completion of the bridges; working to give the people of West New Britain quality and value for money infrastructure that they deserve. I am confident that DOW, the supervision consultant, and the contractor will complete the remaining four bridges by end of June 2020. “ADB is proud to work with the government on its future plans to have better infrastructure and connectivity in PNG from farms to market, and thereby increase economic opportunities for the country’s rural communities who represent the vast majority of the population. And additionally support better access to health and education facilities. Mr Hill appealed to DOW and the people of Nakanai to take care of the bridges. State Enterprise Minister and Regional Member Sasindran Muthuvel said WNB has contributed K1.5 million to PNG’s GDP through its Agriculture commodities especia ly Oil Palm. While thanking the government he assured that the people of WNB will continue to work hard to develop their agriculture resources, especially oil palm, to support the National Government. Works and Implementation Minister Michael Nali said he was honored by the welcome received and thanked the people for their support. He said they are fortunate to have good roads, bridges and their oil palm blocks which will continue to bring them wealth and income generating opportunities.

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Nali played a key role in negotiating the ADB loan for the 12 bridges program (BRIRAP). He said with good roads and bridges, you can access market and business and get into SME. “Believe in yourselves and get back to the land and develop it,” Minister Nali urged. Under the BRIRAP program funded through ADB, 27 bridges total length of 875 meters were selected on the five priority national roads in four Regions to be replaced: Central, West New Britain, East Sepik and Madang province. For BRIRAP, ADB had provided a US$100 million loan under Loan No. 2479/2488 (PNG). Four main targets of the program are; - Replace single lane bailey bridges with permanent two lane Composite Concrete Steel Structures on five priority national roads to improve access and safety - Reuse and install reusable bailey bridges on selected roads to improve access; - Capacity development of DOW’s bridge asset management system (BAMS) - Road safety awareness in the project affected rural communities. The BRIRAP is being implemented in the Central and West New Britain provinces. In Central, four bridges have been constructed along the Hiritano Highway and three bridges along Magi Highway. Work is still in progress on New Britain highway where 76 per cent of physical work has been done. Full completion of work is targeted for April 2020. So far 485m of bridges length had been constructed in Central province and 380m of bridges constructed on New Britain Highway. BRIRAP is geared to encourage rural business activities, safe bridge crossings and delivery of services while promoting livelihood restoration and training programs in rural communities. n


INFRASTRUCTURE |INFRASTRUCTURE ROADS & BRIDGES

OIL SEARCH

Restores Key Infrastructure for Communities

O

il Search has completed the repair and restoration of damaged sections of roads and bridges in Kutubu and surrounding areas, caused by the 2018 earthquake. The roads and bridges are an important link to services for more than 80,000 people from Poroma, Kutubu, Moran, Bosavi and further down to Kikori. On Monday, 27 January, Oil Search handed over the asbuilt technical documentation of the completed bridges and road works in Homa, Paua, Baguale and Kutubu area to the Department of Works and Implementation in Port Moresby. The documentation comprises records of the repair work carried out on the 106km provincial Kutubu Access Road, 35km on the Homa Paua Road and the reconstruction of five major bridges in between. Clough Niugini provided engineering and construction management for the repairs and reconstruction of the bridges and roads in Baguale and Homa Paua along with major bridges on the Kutubu Access Road. With its extensive experience in road maintenance and bridge construction, Clough Niugini was able to complete the repair work on time and within agreed budget. This was done with the support and meaningful engagement of local landowner companies in line with Oil Search’s commitment to skills transfer and local capacity building. Leon Buskens, Oil Search Senior Vice President for External Affairs thanked all partners and the Department of Works and Implementation for its initial emergency response after the earthquake. “We acknowledge the Department of Works and Implementation who is accountable for this infrastructure and for the restoration efforts. “It took two years of hard work and dedication following the 2018 earthquake to restore this important infrastructure for our people. “Oil Search continues to demonstrate the success of the public-private partnership model and we are adding further value through our ability to self-regulate the standards of roads within the areas that we operate. “Going forward, all parties must identify a suitable funding mechanism for ongoing maintenance and upgrade of such key infrastructure,” Mr Buskens said. Gabriel Tomtai, Department of Works and Implementation Deputy Secretary thanked Oil Search for working in

partnership with the government to deliver a very important link to the people of Southern Highlands, especially Kutubu. “The Department of Works and Implementation is pleased that we have established a good partnership and wants the partnership to continue so we can deliver vital road infrastructure to our people.” “We welcome the handover of the technical documentation and more importantly we have opened up the road for our people to have access to vital services,” Mr Tomtai said. As roads and bridges are state owned infrastructure, the as-built documentation that records the work on the roads and bridges must be handed over to the Department of Works and Implementation. The company has also completed a significant amount of work on school and health facilities for the benefit of communities affected by the 2018 earthquake. n

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PROCUREMENT | INVESTMENT

NEW LAWS TO CLAMP DOWN ON SYSTEMATIC CORRUPTION BY JASON KAUT Port Moresby PNG

‘NINETY nine per cent of contracts and procurements are designed for stealing’. This was the blunt statement made by Governor for East Sepik Alan Bird, during a recent workshop hosted by the Institute of National Affairs (INA) and the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC) in Port Moresby. “Checks and balances are not fully complied with as Papua New Guinea’s tender and procurement system has too many loopholes,” Governor Bird said, urging for an urgent ‘review of PNG’s laws’. The rot in PNG’s tender and procurement system was also cited by Governor for Northern Province Gary Juffa, also a guest panel member at the workshop. Both Governors Bird and Juffa had cited instances of inflated costs in the tender and procurement process from their provinces. “This is happening all around PNG,” Gov-

ernor Bird said. There are many cases in point, some still pending investigations, others in front of the Public Accounts Committee and others filed away, collecting dust. There is however positive signs that the current Marape-Stevens government is committed to tackle corruption head on. As reported on RNZ on Tuesday February 18th all members of the House voted in support of the 2020 Whistle Blowers Bill. At the same time a bill to introduce an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was also tabled in parliament. The Whistle Blowers Bill, introduced by Justice Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven, aims to provide protection to those in the public sector to report corrupt practices. Prime Minister James Marape has been reported assuring the ICAC, to be created by the ICAC bill, will be an independent institution working free of political interference to hold the corrupt to account. He said the ombudsman, the judiciary, police,

and Transparency International would be asked to assist in establishing the commission’s structure. The new laws will hold the corrupt to account and ensure transparency and accountability in PNG’s tender and procurement process. The INA-CIMC workshop was themed ‘Strengthening and Safeguarding the Constitution, Democracy, Governance and Democratic Institutions in Papua New Guinea, a developing nation with weak communications’ Panel members included Governors Bird and Juffa, Dr Thomas Webster of the National Research Institute (NRI) and Secretary for Law and Justice Dr Eric Kwa, Civil Society and Women’s rep Ms Maya Peipul & Dr Joe Ketan, both as private citizens, Ms Matilda Pilakapio – Civil Society Advocator while special guest was Australian lawyer and former radio ABC personality Jon Faine. n

TISA to add value in property investment in PNG PT PNG MEDIA

TEACHERS Savings and Loans Society (TISA) in Papua New Guinea has embarked on a new journey in the real estate space. The society has announced that it will be redeveloping its current precinct in Waigani, Port Moresby. In 18 months time the precinct where the current office is located will see its extended carpark area opposite the Stanley Hotel and Suites will hold a mixed use multistory building called the TISA Rua to be built at a cost of K83 million. Rua in the Motuan language means the number two or second. TISA group chief executive officer Michael Koisen during a ground breaking ceremony in Port Moresby announced that the building will be constructed by Fletcher Morobe Construction. Koisen said after TISA Rua is completed the old building will be reconstructed and named as TISA Ta (1) while the third building to be constructed where the Golden Bowl restaurant is will be called TISA Toi (3). The society believes that upon comple-

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tion and if occupancy is full the value of this building will be at K151 million consistent with the building life cycle of 20 years and an attractive commercial property investment return. TISA Rua once completed will have commercial office spaces, recreational areas and a residential area. Koisen said they are optimistic that the real estate industry in Port Moresby will always remain attractive despite current times and circumstances. “We are optimistic that with all three investments in Port Moresby and taking the regional lead there is some level of conflict the growth opportunity will continue to expand, for us real estate will be a major benefactor. The economy of Papua New Guinea whilst experiencing tough times has proven to be resilient and will continue to show resilience into the future,” he said. TISA is already eyeing large corporate as possible tenants and is hoping to keep their current clients who are currently housed in the old TISA Haus building. The introduction of this investment Koisen said is set to bring a new dimension

of development especially to the Waigani area by introducing pent houses and residential suites. Chairman Gabriel Tai said this project once completed will attract a lot of investment for the society. Tai thanked necessary statutory approvals given by the Central Bank and the ongoing support by its members to make this development project happen. TISA has built strong relations with our existing tenants at TISA Haus and two of whom are Government offices and we hope to continue such strong relationship with our Papua New Guinea government,” he said. “We are also confident that this development will attract progressive companies and other government departments seeking a future enabled environment. This is a key milestone in the history of TISA in 2020 as the project enters into the construction phase as every one of us in TISA eagerly looks forward to its completion and opening in the near future,” he said. Contractor Fletcher Morobe has also given their word that this project will be completed as per the schedule. n


INFRASTRUCTURE COMMUNICATION

Kumul Submarine

Cable Landing Underway in PNG

K661million (US$200million) Kumul Submarine Cable Network game changing project funded by the Exim Bank of China has finally started in Papua New Guinea

PT PNG MEDIA

K

umul Submarine Cable Network (KSCN) landing is carried out by the PNG DataCo, Huawei Marine, Optic Marine, NBC and other, sub-contractors and government agencies. This cable landing exercise is part of Papua New Guinea’s National Transmission Network (NTN) which will be carried out by PNG DataCo Limited as part of the PNG Government’s plan to restructure and transform the telecommunication Industry. PNG DataCo’s vision is to improve and expand affordable access to all people of PNG, through the development of the National Transmission Network. PNG DataCo’s mandate is to build a National Transmission Network that will provide wholesale non-discriminatory telecommunications transmission services using existing Government owned assets through rationalization of existing wholesale assets and new capital works to extend the backbone network to provincial capitals. The landing started off in Jayapura in Indonesia and was landed in Vanimo in February. The connection from Jayapura to Vanimo is called the Pukpuk1. Following this the Optic Marine vessel, Ile De Re moved to Wewak East Sepik province two weeks ago and has successfully landed the cable at the landing station. This marks the beginning of the domestic cable landing for

the KSCN system one in PNG. The cable then travelled about 1000kilometres from Jayapura in Indonesia into Vanimo, then to Wewak and branched out along the Bismarck Sea to the nation’s far flung island province Manus. “As the Government’s representative on this project, we want to ensure the cable- laying is completed successfully and the network is used for the benefit of the country. Last February, the first stage of Kumul Domestic Cable – a fibre optic link from Port Moresby to Madang, via Alotau, Popondetta and Lae was completed and the cable-laying of CS2 link from Port Moresby to Sydney ensued on July 1st, 2019 in Port Moresby,” says the Kumul Telikom Holdings deputy Chairman Ruben Kautu. Mr Kautu explained that KSCN as part of the NTN is delivered in three parts, System 2 which extends from Port Moresby- Alotau-Popondetta-Lae-Madang- (1,874 Km). This system is completed and in use since March 2019. He said for System 1, the start of the cable lays in Vanimo will have 9 landings, including Jayapura-Vanimo-Wewak-Lorengau-Madang-Kimbe-KokopoKavieng-Arawa with a total cable length of 3,350 kilometres. The System 3 runs from Port Moresby and extends to Kerema and onto Daru. The Pukpuk 1 is the name of the international link on this cable project between Vanimo and Jayapura. Mr Kautu said the system 2 will connect in Madang to the

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COMMUNICATION

completed system 1 to link up Lae, Popondetta, Alotau, and Port Moresby and to System 3 linking up Kerema and Daru. Despite the country has already seeing three successful landings, Kautu said PNG still remains with the challenge of capacity, especially with the country’s difficult geography. He said the project when complete will connect 15 provinces and complement Highlands’s fibre project which will connect all the highlands provinces with this modern communication medium, fibre optic cables. “Apart from the Cable network, the Kumul Submarine Cable project also includes two Data centres, new International Gateway systems, IP transmission infrastructure as well as a modern Network Operations Centre to monitor and manage the overall network from a single point in the network. “The domestic portions of the network delivered through the Kumul Submarine Cable and the Highlands Fibre Project provide local connectivity between local townships and to international gateways in Madang and Port Moresby that will have international connectivity to Sydney, Guam and Jayapura. This is particularly important to provide diverse paths and protection of our vital communications services,” Kautu said. The National Transmission Network is expected to be completed in the first third Quarter of 2020, however the challenge now will be for the existing and new retail Telcos and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to extend their suite of services to the outer population areas. On pricing Kautu illustrated that in 2014, the price of wholesale internet was around USD1, 300 per Mbps per month which came down to about USD380 per Mbps per month about 18 months ago and is now around USD98 per Mbps per month. The pricing will continue to drop as parts of the NTN is completed and the usage volumes continue to climb. Therefore, for PNG he said, the country can achieve a 20 percent growth in Broadband penetration by 2021 on the back of completion of such critical infrastructure like the KSCN and the Coral Sea Cable System. “Then we could expect a contribution to National GDP growth by the ICT Sector of about 2.6 percent. Our challenge is making sure this capacity is distributed across the country where majority of our people currently live. We anticipate the project to be completed by end of 2020. We ensure that we will have international connectivity through CS2 and a domestic network to distribute to all provincial capitals empowering current Telcos and ISPs and new players to extend their suite of services to the outer population areas to service our people,” he said. Minister for State Enterprises Sasindran Muthuvel said once the cable landing is completed, it is expected to deliver vast benefits to Papua New Guineans as part of the SOE Reform Program and is a key strategic intervention through economic investment that will stimulate digital economy through:

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n Economic growth in economic corridors and trade zones creating new businesses opportunities. n Attracting new investment opportunities in agriculture, tourism, fisheries and downstream processing to manufacture finished product to access global market. n Creating new job opportunities for our people so that no one would be left behind. n Enabling access to better health care and training across the country n Enhancing quality education and training of our people n Helping to improve basic social services. The Minister said this cable will allow Papua New Guineans to access high speed broadband services across the country in a day and age in which businesses can engage in e-commerce transactions with our people in real time for great value at affordable price.

......the project when complete will connect 15 provinces and complement Highlands’s fibre project which will connect all the highlands provinces with this modern communication medium, fibre optic cables.

“This Cable project will drive and enhance the National Government policy direction for economic empowerment, SME business growth and will foster inclusive development and participation by our people at all levels in the LLGs, districts, Town and Provinces,” he said. Muthuvel assured that his Ministry, DataCo and the Kumul Telecom Holdings Limited (KTHL), together with partners are determined to ensure these projects are delivered to international standard quality, on budget and on time so that the most important stakeholder, the people and business houses in PNG enjoy the best communications services at prices that they can afford. “The Marape-Steven Government has recognized the key roll SOEs play in delivering services. As Minister responsible for State Owned Enterprises, I will say this again, that 2020 is a year of transformational change for PNG. To take back PNG, this year we will need to make decisions that will impact the nation’s development. This includes determining our approach to major projects that includes the national transmission network, furthermore, maximizing the value of our trade and economic partners,” he said. Following Manus the landing will continue on to Madang, Kimbe, Kavieng, Kokopo and Arawa to end System 1 and in May system 3 was to Kerema and Daru connected by the month’s end. n


INFRASTRUCTURE

Pictured above is Prime Minister Sogavare and his Deputy Hon. Maelanga, and Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon. Kuma standing in front of the mobile x-ray machine together with CEO and Chairman if SIPA. Right, Inside the this new mobile x-ray scanner.

SIPA Upgrades Security Solomon Islands Ports Authority now equipped with new X-Ray Technology BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

S

olomon Islands Ports Authority have launched their first ever mobile x-ray vehicle equipped with state of the art scanning technology and vast capabilities. Since procuring `this state of the art machine Solomon Islands now joins the few countries in the Pacific that have installed Xray technologies in their ports of entry to assist ports, customs, biosecurity and quarantine authorities detect organic substances like narcotics, explosives, contraband items, weapons and undeclared goods hidden in different forms. This new equipment was procured

from Nuctech in China by the Solomon Islands Ports Authority for SBD$16 million dollars and is the first of its kind to be operational throughout the various ports in the country. At the ceremony Prime Minister Sogavare said the machine will enable Solomon Ports and Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) to undertake non-intrusive inspection of cargo imports and exports packed in shipping containers to detect cargo that falls under a “high risk” classification at Honiara International sea port. With this new mobile x-ray scanner, cargoes will be scanned and identified through Customs assessed intelligence by the Risk Management teams. The results of the scan will enable

officers to decide if the container should be diverted for further physical inspection from initial interpretation of the x-ray colour coded images or released. This new technology will reduce the time needed to check containers and hasten their release to business houses. It maximizes security and revenue collection through the use of unobtrusive examination technology. The new technology also acts as a deterrent to importers or exporters who may attempt to breach the country’s laws and regulations. Other countries in our region that have similar technologies include Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. PNG is in the process of installing theirs. n

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DEVELOPMENT

BINA HABOUR PROJECT TO BE OPERATIONAL BY 2023 SI OPMC

The Solomon Islands Government has made advancements in progressing the long awaited Bina Habour Tuna Processing plant project in Malaita Province. A statement from the Prime Ministers Office reiterated the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) government’s commitment to seeing through the project, evidently through series of breakthroughs including: a successful reconciliation ceremony held in 2019; identification of the ideal site for water source; identification of landowners of the harbour access; conducting of the study on financing options and the identification of a project office site.

The statement said currently consultations are being held between the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC), the World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), Malaita Provincial Government and the resource owners. The Bina Harbour Project is a proposed Tuna factory which has faced several cross-sectoral challenges over the past years. Hence, a cross-sectorial approach with a strong notion of ‘working together’ with all relevant stakeholders to this project is now being undertaken. When operational the proposed Tuna factory will employ at minimum, more than a thousand employees.

“Ideally, we want our pacific athletes attending the games in 2023 to eat fish products produced in Bina.” Apart from employment, the positive trickle down impacts of this factory is that many local businesses and local famers in the country would benefit in supplying food produce and basic needs to the factory and its employees. A benchmark has been set by Sol-Tuna operations in Noro Western Province which we can learn from. All parties and stakeholders to this national project acknowledge the political will from DCGA in seeing this project operational. The Bina Harbour Project is expected to be operational by 2023. n

USD 40M for Kukum Highway Phase II Project BY ESTHER NURIA Honiara Solomon Islands

The Minister for Infrastructure and Development Manassaeh Maelanga has told the public Accounts Committee in November that USD$40 million has been allocated for the Kukum Highway Phase II project, which will

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be financed by under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Minister Maelanga said the scope of Phase 2 will include the rehabilitation of the road from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to Lungga Bridge (4 lanes, 5km) and from

Lungga Bridge to Honiara International Airport (2 lanes, 2km including Lungga Bridge). It will also include the rehabilitation of drainage facilities and rehabilitation of bus bays. The Ministry’s Development budget will also cover maintenance of wharfs, airfields and bridges all approved in MID’s Budget for 2020. n


Pacific Games 2023 UPDATES from the Sol 2023 National Hosting Authority

PM provides update on 2023 Pacific Games

P

rime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has provided parliament with an overview on the progress of the 2023 Pacific Games preparations. In his address Mr. Sogavare said the work on the indoor courts at the Old Community Centre has progressed. He said PRC is financing the design and construction of the national stadium complex, the swimming pool complex, the tennis complex, a new track and field at the KGVI grounds including a multi-purpose hall and a hockey field. “The support by PRC is by way of grant and not loans, this must be made clear to avoid any doubt,” he said. Mr. Sogavare said Indonesia is financing a futsal multipurpose indoor hall. He said Indonesia has already deposited USD$7.2 m into an escrow account as part payment for the construction, with the rest of the financing assistance coming in the new fiscal year. Papua New Guinea will be supporting the building of the new Soccer Academy, while Australia will support the refurbishment of dormitories and classrooms plus support facilities of schools selected to accommodate athletes and staff during the Pacific Games. “Australia is committed to support the training of elite athletes in Australia and support for the high performance centre at the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports. This will be based at the former Telekom recreation field in Ranandi,” he said. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sogavare said the National Hosting Authority (NHA) is seeking additional development partner support for currently unfunded facilities. “Land for the Games venues and facilities have mostly been settled. Construction of some of the major facilities for the Games will commence later this year,” he said. He said it is anticipated that most of facilities will be completed by December 2022 with the national stadium expected to be completed by March 2023, three months before the games. The NHA is the body established under the 2023 Pacific Games Act, to plan, manage and deliver the games, and it is in full operation. n

MoU for high performance facility site signed The Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) and the Solomon Islands Government through the National Hosting Authority (NHA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in February which allows the NHA to purchase the former Our Telekom’s recreational site at Ranadi.

Dr. Aaron Oritaemae Vice Chairman of the SINPF Board and Dr. Jimmy Rodgers Chairman of the Sol2023 National Hosting Authority shaking hands and displaying the MOU signifying the land purchase agreement.

The land purchase by the government paves the way for setting up of a Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports It will be the home of higher performance training programs aimed to prepare sports men and women for international competitions. NHA Chairman Dr. Jimmie Rodgers acknowledged SINPF Board’s decision to allow the land for the development of sporting facilities for young people of this country. “SINPF Board’s decision is an investment on sports training facilities to sharpen the athletes and coaching skills and talents that should prepare them for international competitions,” Dr. Rodgers stated. He said that it is one of the best decisions because it is an investment that goes back to the people. Representatives from the National Sports Council (NSC) and the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) were also present at the signing ceremony. The signing is the first of few MOUs expected to be signed with stakeholders in the coming months. n

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Pacific Games 2023 UPDATES from the Sol 2023 National Hosting Authority

A 3-D concept of the proposed Multi-Purpose Futsal Stadium expected to be constructed in the final quater of 2020

Construction expected to begin in June

Indonesia commits to construction of FUTSAL STADIUM in Solomon Islands BY DOUGLAS SAEFOA Honiara Solomon Islands

T

he construction of the multi-million dollar multi-purpose hall futsal stadium will soon commence in Honiara following the formalization of a contract financing grant worth USD$7.5 million made by the Republic of Indonesia in March. This is a result of formal agreement signed between the leaders of Indonesia and Solomon Islands in December 2019. The facility which will also play host during the Sol2023 Pacific games will be built at the KGVI-Panatina Sports complex alongside the main stadium, aquatics and tennis complexes. A statement from the National Hosting Authority said that the stadium contractors from Indonesia construction firm PT Wijaya Kara (WIKA) were recently in Honiara to start the detailed planning in preparation for the construction. Sol2023 NHA Chairman Dr. Jimmy Rodgers acknowledged the Indonesia Government’s support towards this much needed piece of infrastructure and described the project as a ‘game changer’. Mr. Rodger also confirmed that his office has already re-

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ceived the funds and that the project implementation is already well ahead. “The funds for the MP Futsal stadium have already been transferred into an Escrow account which the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade holds signatory to and so we expect to commence with the construction once a detailed architectural design is approved,” said Rodgers. The NHA also noted that they have proposed an 80 meter by 50 meter structure to WIKA and that it should expect to include three multipurpose pitches. The MP Futsal stadium is a single complex that will house three court areas capable of playing futsal, basketball, netball, volleyball and facilitate other sports. The complex itself is over 5800 sq. meters and features six changing rooms, a conference area, and permanent retractable seating for over 1500 people. The hall itself could potentially hold over 4000 people in different seating areas. Wika country Manager Abdur Rachman said this project is an important project here in the Solomon Islands. “WIKA has now taken steps to accelerate the delivery of the hall by 2021. The constructors are working on a 12 month time frame where the project is expected to complete in 2021,” said Rachman. n


Pacific Games 2023 UPDATES from the Sol 2023 National Hosting Authority

PRC to finance 80% of Games facilities Exchange of notes expected in April

The Sol2023 National Hosting Authority Committee led by Chairman Dr. Jimmy Rodgers (thrid from right) together with the Counselor of the peoples Republic of China H.E Yao Ming (center)

O

fficials representing stakeholders from the Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) met on 10 March to identify the progress made so far towards preparations of the 2023 Pacific Games. Representatives were from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet together the National Hosting Authority (NHA), the Cabinet Sub-committee on the 2023 Pacific Games and from the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). During the meeting, His Excellency, Counselor Yao Ming from the PRC Government reiterated his country’s commitment towards the construction of the PG2023 main stadium and other supporting facilities. In his remarks, Counselor Yao Ming stated that his government is fully committed to seeing this project materialize. According to Counselor Ming, once committed to an agreement, the government of the PRC will always carry through with its commitment despite any challenges such as the COVID-19 faced by his country. During the meeting, Counselor Ming also thanked the SPM and NHA Chairman for a support letter from the

Honorable Prime Minister of Solomon Islands to the President of the Peoples Republic of China. In response, Secretary to the Prime Minister and Chairman of the NHA Dr. Jimmie Rodgers conveyed gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for their steadfast commitment and support toward the games preparation, despite the ongoing challenges with COVID-19 in China. Dr. Rodgers assured Counselor Ming of the Solomon Islands government support and close working partnership with the PRC for a timely implementation of the PG2023 facilities. Other important issues discussed include updates on the status of the COVID-19 and the potential negative impact it will have on the timely implementation of the games facilities. The construction is not due to commence until later this year depending on the signing of exchange of notes. The meeting was organized as part of a regular communication initiative between both parties for sharing of vital updates toward the actual construction of the games stadium and facilities. n

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MOH CONTRACT AWARDS LIST

SOLOMON ISLANDS GOVERNMENT

Ministry of Health and Medical Services PO Box 349 Honiara Solomon Islands

NOTIFICATION OF CONTRACT AWARDS BY THE MINSTRY OF HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES FIRST HALF OF 2019. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is pleased to inform the general public about the various procurement contracts it has awarded during the first half of 2019. The MHMS would further like to take this opportunity to thank all tenderers who participated in all the tenders it advertised during

the reporting period. All unsuccessful tenders wishing to seek explanations on the grounds for which their submission were unsuccessful are advised to contact the Procurement Unit in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services by email through LJacob@moh.gov.sb or by phone through 26013.

PROCUREMENT DESCRIPTION

REF

SUCCESSFUL CONTRACTOR

CONTRACT AMOUNT

1. Construction of RWASH Staff House at Buala

CTB C 90/18

MY Construction

SBD 845,797.38

2. Construction of RWASH Staff House at Kirakira

CTB C 89/18

MH Consortium

SBD 971,283.40

3. Procurement of 400 Hospital mattresses for NRH

MTB G 32/19

Trade Link International

USD 45,200.00

4. Provision of Security Services for MHMS and NRH

CTB C 14/19

Solomon Security Service

SBD 1,073,100.00

5. Procurement of Motor Vehicles

CTB C 13/19

United Auto

SBD 425,000.00

6. Construction of Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre

CTB C 02/19

Bako Construction

SBD 24,700,588.00

7. Preferred Supplier Arrangement for Specialised Printing Services

CTB C 06/19

8. Preferred Supplier Arrangement for General Stores LOT 2

9. Preferred Supplier Arrangement for Stationery LOT 1

CTB C 09/19

CTB C 09/19

a.

Provincial Press

As per Price Schedule

b.

Honiara General Printers

As per Price Schedule

c.

Global Printing

As per Price Schedule

d.

InfoTech Impact

As per Price Schedule

e.

Good Guys Solution

As per Price Schedule

f.

Melanesian Secretariat and Printing Services

As per Price Schedule

g.

JJ Technology

As per Price Schedule

a.

Advance Quality Suppliers

As per Price Schedule

b.

Fleet Solomons

As per Price Schedule

c.

Tropical Marketing Pty Ltd

As per Price Schedule

a.

Advance Quality Suppliers

As per Price Schedule

b.

Advance National Office

As per Price Schedule

c.

Global Printing

As per Price Schedule

d.

Tropical Marketing Pty Ltd

As per Price Schedule

10.Preferred Supplier Arrangement for Effluent Waste Removal

CTB C 07/19

Ultimate Enterprise

As per Price Schedule

11. Supply and Delivery of RWASH Water supply Materials for Gizo

CTB C 05/19

Tongs Corporation

SBD 778,921.90

12.Architectural Support Services and Project Management

CTB C 38/19

Kramer Auscenco

SBD 1,585,443.75

13.Provision of External Audit Service for GAVI Cash Support Programmes

MTB S 27/19

Morris & Sojnocki

SBD 56,500.00

i

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MOH CONTRACT AWARDS LIST

14.Air Ducting Condition Services at NRH

MTB S 19/19

Kings Construction

SBD 450,524.36

15.Air Condition and Electrical Maintenance Services

CTB C 40/19

Cool Solomons

SBD 2,610,500.00

16.Renovation of NRH Kitchen

MTB W31/19

Motawa Enterprise

SBD 475,395.85

17.Provision of Genset Maintenance Services at the National Referral Hospital.

MTB S 25/19

Island Enterprises

SBD 427,620.00

18.Infection Prevention Services at NRH

CTB C 24/19

LOT 1 QB Joint Venture

SBD 520,133.00

LOT 2 Jay Pest

SBD 349,170.75

LOT 3 Trust Builders Construction

SBD 340,946.00

TRI-C Enterprise

SBD 397,560.00

Motawa Enterprise

SBD 475,395.85

19. Renovation of RWASH warehouse at Ranadi 20. Renovation to NRH Kitchen

MTB W31/19

21. Renovation to RWASH head office LOT 1

CTB C 65/19

LOT 1 JV Enterprise ltd

SBD 372,107.43

22. Renovation of Kogah NAP LOT 2

CTB C 65/19

LOT 2 Karuba Construction

SBD 326,310.40

23. Renovation of 6 x Staff house blocks at Malu’u LOT 4

CTB C 65/19

LOT 4 M Finjay building construction

SBD 384,313.94

24. Supply of Food Rations to NRH

CTB C80/19

LOT 1 (Prim) Majo Catering

SBD 1,386,320.00

LOT 1 (Sec) Lunga farm

SBD 1,551,680.00

LOT 1 (b) H&A Puti supplier

SBD 952,640.00

LOT 1 (c) GFA Company

SBD 1,404,000.00

LOT 2 Bulk Shop

SBD 771,680.0

LOT 3 Sullivans Nambawan Meat

SBD 1,654,640.00

LOT 4 Bulk Shop

SBD 1,722,846.40

LOT 5 (a) Bulk Shop

SBD 1,348,756.86

LOT 5 (b) Health Food Pacific

SBD 281,164.80

LOT 6 Food Works

SBD 1,471,142.40

LOT 7 (Prim) TAVA Enterprise

SBD 1,404,000.00

LOT 7 (Sec) DEW Catering

SBD 1,560,000.00

Kings Construction

SBD 450,524.36

Alphamed Pty Ltd

SBD 1,638,281.01

Boucher & Muir Pty

SBD 5,950,814.36

Makans & Pharmaceuticals

SBD 155,232.22

Multichem Export Ltd

SBD 2,416,179.00

Panatina chemist Pty Ltd

SBD 222,403.33

Pharmatec Ltd

SBD 39,596.85

South Austral Pty Ltd

SBD 7,959,209.51

25. Supply and installation of air ducting condition at NRH 26. Supply of Drugs and Pharmaceutical supplies

ii

MTB W40/19

www.pacifictenders.com

MTB S28/19 CTB C60/19


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