Budget stretched, services on halt, says Talasasa

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Provincial Member for Nusa Roviana and ward 16, Ramrakha Talasasa
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BY BEN BILUA
Gizo

Provincial Member of Western Province, Ramrakha Talasasa says the province’s budget allocation towards respective divisions have been stretched and there is a need for the 2021-2022 supplementary budget to be tabled immediately.

He said all the commitments of government divisions have been affected and the province needs the supplementary budget to further appropriate funds towards service deliveries in the remaining month of this year until March 31 next year.

 “Currently, the provincial government is in a position where unable deliver effective services to people as the budget allocation appropriated in March this year has been stretched to its limit.

“Some department have exhausted their allocated funds and they need extra funds to execute their program and activities.

“Sad that the provincial government cannot spend further due to certain regulations which prohibit the provincial government to do so.

“There are opportunities available such as virement but the virements are limited to five percent of the allocated budget – meaning such fund will insufficient to deliver much needed services.

“There are funds available but the law prohibits the province to spend any cent,” Talasasa said.

He said the problem is how to appropriate the fund to allow administrations of fund towards divisions.

Talasasa said the current political situation is one of the major challenge to the possibility of convening Assembly meeting to pass the budget and that the MPGIS needs to step in.

“Our attempt to convene assembly meeting earlier than November to quickly debate the 2021-2022 Supplementary Budget failed.

“It’s quite hard to solve the issue of convening the Assembly Meeting earlier than November 7.

“We have also made few submissions based on Standing Order 58 which requires absolute majority to submit a letter for Assembly Meeting earlier than November but the respond proved negative.

“One might argue that, we are the ones who create this mess. Off course that is very true and we apologize for that, but we as MPAs and legislatures, we do have legislative obligation and one of our legislative obligation is to ensure that we are ruled by a majority government.

“Part of our legislative obligation is ensure that democracy is alive and respected in our province.

“For us to entertain a government that is minority of the assembly, then we will not accept the fact that, that government will table and pass an ordinance such as the budget,” he said.

Talasasa stressed that a budget is an appropriation ordinance which is a law in itself as such the budget needs absolute majority to pass it in the floor of assembly.

“Again, we cannot pass a law with minority vote.

“We have the number to manipulate the affairs of the province because we have the number and that is how democracy system rules,” he said.

Attempts to get comments from the government proved futile yesterday.


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