18 Nov 2004

Solomon Islands MP urges more investment for Malaita projects

8:09 am on 18 November 2004

An MP in Solomon Islands says an ethnic crisis could be on the horizon if the government doesn't invest in two major projects on Malaita.

The former planning minister, Fred Fono, says unless the current administration puts money into the Bina Harbour and Auluta developments, further conflict could erupt.

Mr Fono says he's disappointed money wasn't set aside in next year's budget for the projects.

He is pushing for a change of heart from the government.

"We need to address the root cause of the problem and that is to create infrastructure or investments on Malaita so that Malaita people do not come looking for employment here on Guadacanal or any other island. They remain on their island and get employment there so they don't create any problems here."

He says he is disappointed money wasn't set aside in next years budget for the projects and he is pushing for a change of mind from the government.

Government needs to set up funds under its development budget to get the infrastructure up for private investment. I'm not saying here that it's the government's job to set up those investments, no. Government is to create the infrastructure necessary for the private sector investment.

Mr Fono also says Guadalcanal demands need to be taken into account, when the government and development partners hold discussions this week.