Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Harry Kuma returned on Monday, 10th October, after attending the 55th Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors Annual Meeting from 26 – 30 September 2022 held at the ADB Headquarters, Manila, Philippines.
Accompanying the Minister was Governor of Central Bank of Solomon Islands Dr. Luke Forau, and Mr. Tobais Bule from Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
This is the first in-person Governors’ Annual Meeting since 2019, where more than 45 ADB Governors and Alternate Governors attended.
During the annual meeting, Minister Kuma also held various bilateral meetings with ADB President Mr. Masatsugu Asakawa, the Vice President Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Executive Director, Mr. Anthony McDonald, and the Director General for the Pacific Department Ms. Leah Gutierrez. At the bilateral meetings, Minister Kuma highlighted the development challenges and issues affecting Solomon Islands and the Government’s ongoing policy priorities. The key areas of discussion were on corresponding banking, access to finance, climate finance, carbon credit, private sector development, digital platform and project specific issues.
In the meeting with the ADB President, Minister Kuma acknowledged the Bank’s rapid response to assist the country to cushion the impact of the Pandemic. The Minister stated that the ADB grant financing came at the right timing when domestic revenues were critically performing below expectation. Minister Kuma highlighted the importance of ADB assistance which complements with other donors’ assistance that helps support SIG’s effort to manage the economy at the face of rising health expenditures. “As a result, the country’s health responds strategies have helped us prevent community transmission until early 2022”, said the Minister.
In welcoming the Minister to ADB, President Asakawa reassured the delegation of ADB’s commitment to meet member countries evolving needs and to support long-term development aspiration of the region. President Asakawa highlighted that the region faces major development challenges including food insecurity, impact of climate change, and the need to mainstream energy transmission mechanism. Minister Kuma reiterated that the Government has gone through difficult times primarily due to the adverse impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic, which was further exacerbated by the November riot. The war in Ukraine and the rise in global prices also contributed. Therefore scaling up of ADB resources to meet the needs of the country towards a path to recovery and sustainable growth is welcomed.
Apart from the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Budget Support program, the ADB has been supporting Solomon Islands in various projects, the most recent ones are co-financier to the Tina Hydro Development Project, University of the South Pacific (USP) SI Campus, Urban Water and Sanitation Project, Land and Maritime connectivity Project, Domestic Resource Mobilization Project (Tax Reform) to name a few.
The ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. The Bank assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.