World Bank has no plans to fund bridge linking Samoan islands - report

The World Bank has poured cold water on the idea of a bridge linking all the inhabited islands of Samoa.

The Samoa Observer reports an unnamed World Bank official saying the bank did not have any plans to support a proposal for a bridge recently broached by Finance Minister Sili Epa Tuioti in Parliament.

"It is worth mentioning that it is about time the government considered seeking assistance from the World Bank to construct a bridge from Upolu to Manono, Apolima and Salafai," he said in Parliament.

Sili said the idea of a bridge first surfaced four years ago but the World Bank was not interested in funding the undertaking.

However, the World Bank official did not totally reject the idea.

The newspaper said the official indicated that there were no current plans to support the project, "but we are in constant discussions with the government to understand its longer term aspirations."

"The World Bank's support to Samoa is currently focused on information and communications technology, agriculture, aviation, climate resilience, disaster response and health," said the official.

The World Bank is also working on improving transport infrastructure including the road to the international airport at Faleolo with a grant of $US35.75 million.

There has been no response from government on this World Bank disclosure.