600k for MPs under ESP to be monitored: Dentana

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FUNDS of $600,000-each under the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) received by Members of Parliament (MPs) will be monitored.

Chairman of the ESP Committee McKinnie Dentana said this after being asked if whether the MPs $600,000 funds will be part of the ESP ‘second stage’ process which is to do reviewing and monitoring of approved recipients scheduled to start in April.

Mr Dentana said the reporting is for all recipients of the ESP as it does not exclude anyone.

“The reporting is all recipients of the ESP, so we will write to our Members of Parliament [MPs] as well.

“It does not exclude anyone. All recipient will in one way or another, the team will take information from them,” said Dentana.

Late last year, it was said by the Economic Stimulus Oversight Implementation Committee (ESPOIC) that the allocation of $41,900,000 under the ESP to MPs is given within the ‘ESP guideline’.

The Policy Secretary Fundamental Reform Sector, Officer of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Trevor Manemahaga said what is given to the MPs is not outside of the guideline of ESP.

According to leaked document raising public anger which was described as unverified by ESPOIC, it showed that MPs received $600,000 each while seven MPs received double.

Mr Manemahaga however in a press conference clarified that what is given to the MPs is not outside of the guideline of ESP.

ESP Chairman Mckinnie Dentana had also clarified that the $600,000 ESP allocation to MPs comes under component two of the ESP known as ‘Immediate Recovery Measures 1’ which focuses on productive resources centres.

In document launched during May last year, these measures focus on the productive and resources sectors especially in investing in value-adding targeted products in the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism sectors.

The objective of this element of the package is to increase rural production and employment and diversification of the export and economic base.

These measures include Investment in value added or production of targeted agriculture products like noni, kava, cassava, taro, coconuts and cocoa. This initiative was said expected to cost $70 million, as special feature under this package will include proposal to provide price or freight subsidies on copra and cocoa.  This is to ensure people migrating to the provinces due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) threat to engage in copra and cocoa production.

Mr Dentana further clarified that on top of that, the MPs received additional funds under the component four called ‘Medium to Long Term Growth’ focusing on infrastructures.

The medium-term element of the package focuses on support to stimulate and build the capacity of the economy to develop and grow.

Meanwhile, a total of 3,431 approvals have been awarded under the ESP.