SOLOMON Islands Government preparatory work for the proposed Asian Development Bank-funded Fiu River hydropower project in Malaita Province is progressing well.
“The land valuation assessment of the project site has been completed and the report on this assessment will be finalised by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey after it receives a report on a forest assessment of the site to be carried out by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification in collaboration with the Ministry of Forest and Research. The deadline for the forest assessment is this Friday, May 6th,” Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare told Parliament yesterday.
The Prime Minister’s update on the Fiu Hydropower Project was contained in his response to a question by the Leader of Opposition, Hon Jeremiah Manele about implementation progress of national projects in Malaita.
He said the finalisation of the Fiu hydropower project site land acquisition process will involve the signing of the land-lease by the Commissioner of Lands, land-premium payment to landowning tribes and the eventual transfer of the land-lease to Solpower (Solomon Islands Electricity Authority).
Prime Minister Sogavare said the topographical survey, geotechnical survey and the design and procurement work will follow on respectively after the completion of the land acquisition process.
The topographical survey and geotechnical survey will be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
He said a Project Steering Committee (PSC) has been established to oversee the implementation of this project as required by the ADB Project Administration Manual and this commitee consists of relevant Government Ministries, Malaita Provincial Government and Solpower.
The PSC in its first meeting last Wednesday, April 27th discussed landowner issues to be addressed by the Solomon Islands Government to ensure smooth implementation of the entire project.
The Prime Minister Solpower is now awaiting a Letter of ‘No Objection’ from ADB to the engagement of design supervision consultants Saman Corporation of Korea before signing a contract with the company to become the Design Supervision Consultants to the project.
He said the two parties hope to sign the contract next week.
Source: PM Press