Richard Butler | Exclusive Report by Sabrina Tabi of Daily Post VU | MARCH 10th, 2023
Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jotham Napat, and Japan’s Ambassador to the Republic of Vanuatu, Mr. Chiba Hirohisa, signed an Exchange of Notes for the Sarakata Hydro Project and Teouma Bridge Reconstruction Project at the Japanese Embassy in Port Vila yesterday.
The Sarakata Hydro Project/Hydropower Station on Espiritu Santo Island was initially signed in 2022 with an initial funding of approximately VT3.9 billion. However, due to the recent depreciation of the Japanese Yen, which caused a shortage of funds, the Japanese government has provided an additional amount of around VT592 million to ensure that this project is implemented.
The Teouma Bridge Reconstruction Project was first signed in 2019 with an initial funding of approximately VT1.715 billion grant. However, due to rising fuel and construction material prices resulting from the war in Ukraine, the Japanese government has given an additional fund of about VT572 million to its original VT1.715 billion grant.
Other factors contributing to the additional funding of these projects include land issues and the global pandemic.
The Mobile Hospital project is a new project that was also signed yesterday. This project consists of Medical Mobile Vehicles with on-board medical equipment, which are provided for under Japan’s Economic and Social Development Program (ESDP), with a total fund of approximately VT200 million. The purpose of this fund is to strengthen the medical system in the country and underpin the tourism industry, which is still recovering after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This project is very important to Vanuatu as it supports Vanuatu’s National Sustainable Development Plan, particularly Society Pillar, Policy Objective 2.1 to 2.4,” Mr. Napat stated.
He also mentioned that Japan and Vanuatu have enjoyed a long-standing relationship based on mutual respect, understanding, friendship, and genuine cooperation, and he believes that this friendship will continue to flourish and sustain through the times ahead.