By Gary Hatigeva
A total of $3 million was allocated to Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA) to provide water services to Auki in Malaita and Tulagi in Central provinces, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Finance, Manasseh Sogavare revealed.
During the Question and Answer session in Parliament yesterday, the Member of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga and Chair of Bills and Legislation Committee questioned the Deputy Prime Minister on the government’s decision under the Community Services Obligation (SCO) for an allocation to the Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA) in 2018.
In his response to the question, Sogavare explained that the allocation made for the authority this year was $3 million, and admitted that it was a cut from the initial estimates in the application.
He said it’s becoming obvious that providing basic water services especially, the initial set up cost in the provincial urban centres are viable and Solomon Water are not able to perceive to provide the basic services.
“Therefore, the government with the obligation to provide the basic water services has opted to assist Solomon Water in this regard through the Community Service Obligations with the payment of 3 million dollars,” the DPM and Finance Minister told Parliament.
Meanwhile, Wale also questioned the government whether SIWA had made an application for the outlier provincial centres that they are responsible for, and the total they applied for.
Wale however added if there was no proposal or application made from the State Owned Enterprise, how the (government) was able to determine the allocated amount.
Sogavare however clarified that SIWA had initially applied for a total estimate of $9.07 million but the Minister explained that after deducting what they are not qualified to under the Community Services Obligation framework, the calculation came down to the revealed amount ($3 Million).
Parliament was told that the community service obligations payment will assist the Solomon Islands Water Authority to continue providing basic water services to the provincial urban centres particularly, for the highlighted centres.
He could not give an actual break down of the allocation for the two provincial set ups but assured that the figure was factored on actual costing under the two outlier service centres and should be distributed accordingly.