Transparent and tangible use of CDF Funds in bettering rural development

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DEAR EDITOR, an article published in the Island Sun newspaper in recent weeks cited that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had expressed concern over the “lack of transparency” around the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

A team from the IMF had visited Honiara to hold discussions on the 2018 Article IV Consultation.

When announcing some of the key findings, arising from the discussions, the team leader, Mrs. Alison Stuart, reportedly said what the CDF is spent on and how well the fund is spent was not clear to the people.

The IMV is seemingly not alone in raising such concerns and I spent the weekend reading a report issued by the World Bank in mid-2014, titled ‘The Aim of Solomon Islands – Towards Better Investment in Rural Communities.’

That report went to the heart of the IMV concerns over the perceived lack of transparency but it also went much further, as I will quote.

“The report is to assist policymakers, program sponsors and implementers to make informed decisions about the design, financing, governance and overall advantages and disadvantages of programs that invest in small-scale infrastructure and income generating opportunities for rural communities in the Solomon Islands.

“The report identifies ways to strengthen the current mechanisms for investing in rural service delivery by examining the three main types of financing for small-scale infrastructure and livelihood activities — constituency, province and community-oriented funds — in a national and global context across four key programs between 2008 and 2012.

“The report explores the following key components across the four programs: analysis and consolidation of sub-project data; local development planning; efficiency and effectiveness; accountability, transparency and dispute management; and sustainability.”

If not too imprudent to ask what happened to that report and the many recommendations it contained to address a whole raft of issues that have lingered far too long and, in my personal view, might have gone some considerable way to clearing the air while considerably aiding tangible rural development if followed up?

Yours sincerely

FRANK SHORT

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