By Gary Hatigeva
THE Solomon Islands National University (SINU) is one of the latest major government institutes said to be anticipating impacts of the budget cut which was served across the board for all government ministries in this year’s budget.
This follows confirmation from the MEHRD, which is also responsible for the institute, which expressed concerns over implementation shortfalls that might be experienced due to what is seen as a smaller allocation.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry, Dr Franco Rodie expressed this when responding to queries and comments regarding the cut, which is said to be very huge, having compared to last year’s allocation.
In his remarks, the MP for East Malaita and Opposition Leader, Manasseh Maelanga, suggested that the cut on SINU budget allocation is huge and raised concerns that the University might not be able to complete all its programmes for this year.
“With the cut, would that guarantee a smooth operation for the university, and can the university afford to do all that have been outlined for this year?” the opposition leader asked.
“I think it is a very big cut on the SINU budget, and they’ll find it very hard with the allocation,” Maelanga said.
Meanwhile, when responding to some of the questions raised, Mr Rodie expressed total agreement with the Opposition Leader’s sentiments, adding that it is clear the cut is very huge and the ministry had tried all it can to maintain the allocation.
But he added that the cut being stretched across the floor, the ministry together with the SINU management are collaborating on how to re-strategise on the Institute’s activities in order to properly control the use of limited $10 million funds to be made available.
“But of course, it is a common knowledge that this is very big, and as the Honorable Member of Parliament for East Malaita has rightly stated, it is indeed a big cut and it’s quite unbelievable how SINU will be able to operate with such amount,” Rodie added.
However, when questioned on the Ministry’s strategy to cover for the gap if widened, Rodie explained that if given the opportunity and if appropriate, the Ministry, together with SINU will take things back to the table and arrange for negotiations.
“It will give us a few months to get feedback from the institute based on the budget, and whatever steps and strategies to fill the gap will also depend very much on what SINU will repost to us.
“And should there be a need later this year based on SINU reports, then we might come back to seek additional support,” Rodie further explained.
He concluded that after all, the university belongs to the country and any government of the day, but added that with such small amount, having government being its main source of revenue, the cut will really affect the institute’s operation for this year.