26 Oct 2005

Solomon Islands to invest millions of dollars into basic infrastructure

7:23 pm on 26 October 2005

There is to be a major investment in basic infrastructure in Solomon Islands in an effort to improve the roading, electricity and water networks, and kickstart the economy.

The National Planning and Aid Co-ordination minister, Fred Fono, says the agreement by international creditors to give the country a two-year reprieve on debt repayments, will free up funds for basic services.

He says 20 percent of the government's budget had been allocated to debt repayment so there will be 60 million Solomon Islands dollars, or more than 8 million US dollars, available to spend over the next year.

Mr Fono says there are two major projects already planned for.

"Only Guadalcanal and Malaita have some road networks. But, these roads, during the social unrest, were not maintained so we've secured funding from the ADB to look at the rehabilitation of these roads. At the same time we are trying, in our plans over the next two years, to open up another international seaport on Malaita."

Mr Fono says there will also be investment in the tourism sector, manufacturing, mining and agriculture.