Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, has told the people of Tanna the new Vanuatu Road Rehabilitation and Construction project will greatly boost economic activities on Tanna, despite the hardships brought on by the passing of tropical cyclone Pam on March 13 and 14.
The head of government was speaking yesterday during the official ground breaking ceremony at Lenamhi on West Tanna.
While acknowledging the fact the project is being funded through a loan from the China Export and Import Bank, the prime minister thanked everyone who made the project a reality. This included, the Chinese government, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), who successfully won the tender to construct the roads, and all government ministries and agencies involved in the successful negotiation of the loan.
The USD 50 million project will take up to five years to complete the first phase which will cover a total of 45 kilometres of road on both Tanna and Malekula. For Tanna, the roads will begin at Whitegrass International Airport and will cover about 30 kilometres during the first phase. The second phase will kick in after that to cover the roads from the South of Tanna to Manuapen in Port Resolution, right up to the entrance of Mount Yasur in South East Tanna.
Yesterday’s ceremony was the second of its kind after the ground breaking of yet another Chinese Exim Bank funded project in the Luganville Samonsin wharf project—one of the biggest projects that has already commenced under the Natuman-led government.
The prime minister stressed the importance of the project towards enhancing the economic wellbeing and quality of life for the people.
In light of the current disaster facing the country, the prime minister said creating the best condition for agricultural and tourism activities is the key to Vanuatu’s long-term economic future and progress.
“I am hopeful that the project will be the catalyst for more economic development in Tanna and Tafea province as a whole,” said Prime Minister Natuman.
It is also the government’s greatest wish that the project itself will not only boost agriculture, tourism and transport sector, it will also generate much needed employment and transfer skills to locals.
Present for the important ceremony was the Vice President of China Civil Engineering Mr Zhao Zhongning, as well as government ministers, officials and authorities from the Tafea Province.
Shortly after yesterday’s ceremony work to establish the camp of CCECC will also begin on Malekula.