The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) handed the Vanuatu Road Rehabilitation and Construction Project to the Vanuatu Government on Tanna yesterday.
This came about after CCECC, as the Contractor and Designer for the Vanuatu Road Rehabilitation and Construction Project Phase 1 successfully completed the project on Malekula and Tanna.
An official ceremony held for the handing over of the projects Phase 1 at the CCECC station at Lenami on Tanna, featured a custom dance of appreciation by the people of Tanna to welcome the high delegation led by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, representatives of CCECC and CCECC's parent company - China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).
The Acting Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities and Minister of Education, Jean Pierre Nirua refuted reports labelling it as a 'road that leads to nowhere' , saying it is now a 'road that leads to a destination'.
"It is with great pride for the people of Tanna to witness this, I want to acknowledge CCECC for providing capacity training for more than 400 locals who have been employed since the commencement of the project in 2015," he said.
"The second phase of the project will see road development further down south of Tanna to the Yasur Volcano, it is a road that is leading to the source of our ancestor. It will lead to the most rugged places on Tanna and it is very important that the road must to lead to its destination by the end of second phase."
PM Salwai stated his satisfaction that the first phase of the installation work has been substantially completed and the project is now moving on to the second phase.
"I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the strong leadership Ambassador Haicheng Zhou and his predecessor, Mr Liu Quan as well as CRCC President Shangbiao Zhuang for making sure that this project was completed this year," he said.
"The roads in Tanna, and in any other islands apart from Efate and Santo have never been tar-sealed since Independence 1980, so this is the first tar sealed road for which we have witnessed its official handover is a highlight and a historical development to be benefited and remembered by all Tafeans."
The project was funded via a Chinese Government Concessional Loan - a total investment of approximately VT5 billion (VT3.5 billion on Tanna and VT1.5 billion on Malekula).
The ceremony also marked the official groundbreaking of Phase II of the Vanuatu Road Rehabilitation Project.