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Energy cost is too high here ‘you have to read it twice to believe it”, says top UN official

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United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja
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A senior United Nations official has stated today that the cost of fuel here is too high adding when you look at the data (energy cost data) “you have to read it twice to believe it.”

United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja had been in Honiara this week meeting with several government leaders including the Prime Minister.

Before jetting out this afternoon, Wignaraja met with the press and spoke on several issues including the costly energy sector.

She acknowledged that energy and connectivity are two major challenges for the Solomon Islands.

“The cost of doing business here is high is both to do with connectivity and the cost of energy.

“I mean this country is again when you look at data, you have to read it twice to believe it. Because if you look at the dependency on diesel it is so high,” Wignaraja told journalists.

She recalled that usually in countries they are working in “we would go in and discuss the mix, the energy mix.”

However, referring to the Solomon Islands energy sector Wignaraja said: “This is not a mix. This is heavy diesel dependent and diesel that is imported. So everything: your daily living as a household, small businesses, your transport, everything is just up because of the cost of diesel.”

So what’s the UN doing here to address that?

Wignaraja said the UNDP wants to engage more in rural electrification, more solar, mini-hydro and wind energy.

“We have already initiated the rural electrification programme. They are using it as a demonstration to get data to what the cost is. So it’s solar based,” she said.

They have started an experiment project in South Malaita testing to see if the equipment works. According to UNDP officials it has worked.

News@SBMOnline2023

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