The signing ceremony was marked by the speech of the minister of public utilities, Jotham Napat:

Today marks another major development milestone for Vanuatu and its people.Today marks the end of the procurement process whereby after a very lengthy, arduous and under the World Bank’s strict procurement guidelines and independent process the Government of Vanuatu has finally managed to conclude its desire to implement the upgrades for Bauerfield International Airport runway. Today’s signing ceremony is significant because it could potentially trigger economic development to levels that are going to be unprecedented in Vanuatu because Bauerfield being the gateway, facilitates 80 percent of tourists and visitors and contributes 40 percent of the GDP, is going to have the capacity to accommodate long haul flights and enable Vanuatu to target a significantly greater tourist market.In 2016, approximately 95,000 visitors have arrived into Vanuatu showing an increase of over 10 % from 2015, Post Pam and Post Runway rehabilitation and the International Visitors Survey (IVS) confirms a total of USD 145 million was poured into the economy and created 37 % employment.

All this is bound to increase because of this project. Today the Government of Vanuatu is executing the Lot 1 Contract Award for Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project for Bauerfield International Airport Runway Rehabilitation with the successful contractor joint venture international consortium of the CHINA CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSTRUCTION COMPANY and NORTHWEST CIVIL AVIATION AIRPORT CONSTRUCTION COMPANY.The value of the contract is USD 47,660,000 (Forty Seven Million Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand Vatu covering works on Runway, Apron and related infrastructures.

The duration of the project will be 340 daysThe contractors are to work with Airports Vanuatu Limited and Air Vanuatu to identify operational windows for construction works, to avoid disruption of normal airline services and ensuring Bauerfield International Airport continues to operate normally in the duration of the project.

The government would like to stress this project is of paramount importance and its completion is its utmost priority.

The Award contract for Lot 2 for Rehabilitation Runway and Terminal Improvements for Santo Pekoa International Airport and Tanna Whitegrass Airport is being finalized and will be concluded for my signing within the next week or two.

VAIP is funded by soft loan under the auspices of Pacific Aviation Investment Program of the World Bank.

It constitutes five separate components.Lot 1 and Lot 2 come under Component A which covers Aviation Infrastructure Investments valued at USD 55 Million.Component B is the Aviation Sector reform and Training valued at USD 1.1 Million Dollars,Component C covers Strengthening Airport Operations and Management Capacity at USD 900,000.

Component D covers Transport Infrastructure Repairs Post TC Pam USD 5.3 Million, and

Component E covers Project Implementation Support of USD 2 Million.

All five components are currently underway as we speak.

VAIP ensures there is a strict contract management mechanism in place and the contract is going be supervised by another international engineering supervision company whose contract is currently being finalized and to be executed shortly.The supervising contract is to be managed by the Vanuatu Project Management Unit in conjunction with World Bank’s Technical Fiduciary Services Unit which provides technical support to the PAIP.The Government of Vanuatu would like to acknowledge the World Bank, VPMU and AVl for their efforts and as well commending CCECC and North West for accepting the challenge and the award of contract.

Ladies and Gentlemen Thank you for your attention and God Bless you all.

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