RADIO New Zealand International today, 15 November 2017, focused on the new Solomon Islands Prime Minister. This is a précis of the RNZI news bulletin.
“The new Solomon Islands prime minister Rick Hou says one of his new government’s priorities is to restore basic services to rural areas.
“The former Central Bank governor was today elected by parliament 33 votes to 16 over the other candidate, Central Honiara MP John Moffat Fugui.
“Speaking to the parliament, Mr Hou said he would continue with the policies of the government of Manasseh Sogavare, who was ousted in a vote of no-confidence last week.
“One of our immediate tasks is to identify clinics around the country that have been forced to close down, with the view to reopening them. It goes without saying that it is the responsibility of the government to provide basic health services and indeed all other basic services to its citizens, especially in the rural areas.”
“Rick Hou said another important objective of his new government was to stabilise the country’s “ailing fiscal situation”.
“It is my government’s priority to immediately address the cash flow situation. My government will ensure there is fiscal displine across all government sectors and to assist line ministries to execute their respective budgets more efficiently, effectively and responsibly.”
“The Small Malaita MP said he recognised the public demand for advancement of the anti-corruption bill that the Sogavare government recently tabled.
“Corruption has caused inefficiencies in operations, it has undermined public trust in government, and it has exhausted public resources and money as well as causing injustice through advantaging a few at the expense of many,” said Mr Hou.
“It has robbed vital resources from our schools and hospitals. I assure this nation that my administration will deliver this important legislation and we are committed in ensuring its implementation before the end of the 10th Parliament.”
“He called on all Solomon Islanders to “embrace peace and National unity.”
I welcome the new Prime Minister’s statement on the need to identify all the medical clinics around the country that have been closed with a view to having them re-opened and to restore basic health services.
I hope, too, it will become a priority of PM Hou’s incoming government to see to the proper funding of the MOHMS and the NRH.
I also welcome PM Hou’s comments on corruption and for the advancement of the anti-corruption bill.
As a former Governor of the Central Bank in the Solomon Islands, the PM is well placed to tackle the ailing fiscal situation in the country and to foster good relations with the Asia .Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the United Nations Agencies with existing links to the Solomon Islands.