15 Jul 2005

ADB to fund Solomons transport services overhaul

10:14 am on 15 July 2005

The Manila-based Asian Development Bank will provide technical assistance to Solomon Islands worth 495-thousand US dollars.

The assistance will help Solomon Islands provide efficient and effective inter-island sea transport services.

Solomon Islands depends on sea transport to travel, to carry goods to Honiara, and to other ports for export.

The ADB says the technical assistance will promote institutional and financial reforms, support targeted sector development, and train stakeholders in participation.

The director of the ADB's Pacific operations division, Indu Bhushan, says Solomon Islands' inter-island transport services are characterised by long distances, infrequent and unreliable schedules, and unsafe vessels.

Mr Bhushan says these pose considerable barriers to market access, and impede the growth of rural production.

He adds economic growth in Solomon Islands depends on increased productivity in the rural areas.

Mr Bhushan says improved inter-island transport is the key to restarting and building rural economics, reducing the demand for migration to the capital, and addressing the challenge of restoring basic services to rural areas.

The Solomon Islands government says it agrees with Mr Bhushan's observations and will contribute 105-thousand US dollars to the programme.

The technical assistance will be completed in April next year.