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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 17) - Provincial premiers are urged to address urban drift and unemployment.

Honiara City Mayor Alfred Maetia told the premiers they must assist the city council to address these two issues.

"These issues are a real ‘time-bomb’ for the country," Mr. Maetia told the Premiers’ Conference that ended last Friday in Rennell. More and more people are coming into the city looking for jobs, only to be disappointed because no work is available for them. This is a real problem for city authorities. The city council is shouldering this burden while everyone else turned a blind eye to it," Maetia said.

He said urban drift and unemployment are issues that should be addressed at the provincial level.

"Increasing urban density, informal urban sprawl, road congestion, unemployment and criminal activities are just some of the problems facing Honiara. These are issues that are directly, and indirectly, linked to urban drift," he said.

Meanwhile the premiers have agreed to have the city mayor as a participant in future conferences.

Maetia, in turn, thanked the premiers for that recognition. He said to have the mayor participate in the annual premiers’ conference means 100 percent of Solomon Islanders will be represented in this important forum.

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