Choiseul rebuilds substation with PGSP funding
  • November 25, 2013

Choiseul Province will soon have an- other of its substa- tions up and running. The Provincial Govern- ment Strengthening Pro- gramme (PGSP) has pro- vided $200,000 to assist the province rebuild Malan- gono substation in South Choiseul. Malangono was an exist- ing substation that was left in desolation after the 2007 tsunami destroyed its ad- ministrative building. PGSP, which is being administered by the Min- istry of Provincial Gov- ernment and Institutional Strengthening, is funding a new administrative build- ing, currently under con- struction. According to villagers, many people will benefit from the administration building once it is func- tional. The sub-station was re- built to support local peo- ple living far from the prov- ince’s capital at Taro. This would make life easier and in this way they would not spend so much money on fuel, transporta- tion, or food to seek assis- tance from Taro. A provincial officer Abel Kutukana said the admin- istration office will serve the region, and facilitate health, agriculture, and fisheries services. “The previous buildings had been washed away by the tsunami,” Mr Kutuka- na said.

“The new building was started in 2011 and will hope fully completed next year where we will start provide services to our peo- ple,” he added. The building consisted of eight rooms upstairs, and downstairs provided a con- ference room, accommoda- tion, kitchen, and sanita- tion. In an interview with the media team sent to get the views of the beneficiaries of the project, Mr Kutuka- na said the people are hap- py that the sub-station will be up and running again. “This is a major develop- ment to the province with the services it will provide for the people.” Mr Kutukana said people in the remote villages and those loving from Taro will now benefit a lot. “They can come here and seek advice or buy agricul- tural seeds for their farms, or get medical assistance. “This will also benefit the province in terms of revenue for the people. “People would no longer travel long distances to go to Taro go seek assistance in relation to health, fish- eries, forestry, education, agriculture and so forth.” Mr Kutukana said once the office is functional, it will make the lives of those living in the remote areas in South Choiseul easier.

“At the moment, every- one goes to Taro to seek as- sistance. “About 13, 000 people will benefit from this project,” he said. He thanked the donors for assisting the province to rebuild the sub-station. “Without your assistance this sub-station will not be rebuilt again. “Once the building is completed, we are expect- ing a forestry officer, edu- cation officer, and heath officer to come and start providing services to the people.” He however, said they would need equipment such as radio, solar- sys- tem, boat and an engine, and furniture, for the new building. Works Officer, Nathan Kiloe, who is also from the area, said despite some land issues they are keen to have this station built for the prime purpose of help- ing the people. “We see that if we hold back the land, there will be no developments done here,” Mr Kiloe said. “The Planning Officer at the province sees the im- portance of having this ad- ministration office built. “Thank you PGSP for putting up the office build- ing and the staff house so that our people can see that there is a development.” Mr Kiloe added he is thinking of asking the province to install comput- ers with internet access if there is a future project. Meanwhile, Community Secretary Munro Rivoqani said the project is expected to bring huge benefits to the community. With this, whenever the villagers wanted to get some ideas or projects in relation to agriculture, for- estry or fisheries, they can just take a walk here than travel on a boat to Taro.

“The Forestry depart- ment can provide seeds to the villagers as well as sup- port the communities in terms of re-forestation. “The villagers struggled at times but now with the sub-station here, we believe life would be made easier,” Mr Rivoqani said. He thanked the national government and aid donors for the help and urged his fellow villagers to recognise the project. “We should try and help ourselves too and not to de- pend much on donors.” Mr Rivoqani added that there is a need for a police post to be stationed at the sub-station as well. “We need a police house to look after the sub-sta- tion and its staff. “The main activity of some of the youths is the brewing of the home made liquor.” He said the community have tried engaging those youths in some village/ church activities but they would not listen. “If a police station is to be stationed here, it will help reduce crime and ille- gal activities.” The province’s treasurer Sam Kega said the funding for all the projects comes under the Provincial Ca- pacity Development Fund (PCDF), through the pro- vincial government for the development structure where the government can- not do for itself. “This is to show the people that the provincial government can carry out the development on the is- land so the people can see that the government can do things for themselves.

“I saw a lot of improve- ments since the funding were made available three years ago. “This encourages the people to take part in com- mercial activities. “There is a big difference from the past since the funding came especially on the budget capital,” Mr Kega said. He said if such pro- gramme continues in 10 to 15 years time, Choiseul Province will be different in terms of infrastructure development. One of the big differences is the relocation of the Taro Township to the main land. “One important sector that we lack here is tour- ism,” he said. “We should focus on tour- ism since that is the main sector we can take in rev- enue for the government.” Mr Kega said the total es- timated funding in the last three years under PGSP is almost $10 million. Asked why Choiseul has topped the projects of all the other provinces, he said they just follow instructions and comply with it.

“People should start im- prove their living because big money have been com- ing in the province for the projects and should put aside a budget for mainte- nance and not to rely on the government. PGSP is a programme supported by the Europe- an Union, (EU), the United Nations Capital Devel- opment Fund (UNCDF), United Nations Develop- ment Program (UNDP), the Australian Govern- ment through RAMSI, and the Solomon Islands Gov- ernment. The aim is to develop the capacity of the Minis- try of Provincial Govern- ment and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) and the nine provincial governments to fulfil their mandates in either de- livering, or coordinating with line departments for the effective delivery of services. It is a 15 year project be- ing implemented in three phases of five years with its goal of reducing pov- erty in the rural areas and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Solo- mon Islands.