New MP raises concern over preferred suppliers system


NEW Member of Parliament for West Kwaio, Claudius Tei’ifi, says he’s shocked to see prices of materials and goods purchased through the Government’s Preferred Suppliers doubled or tripled.

Tei’ifi expressed his frustration during his debate on the sine die motion in Parliament on December 16.

This comes after Minister of Rural Development (MRD) has allocated 76 percent of the Constituency Development Fund, through the Preferred Supplier Agreement or to hardware shops, for acquisition of materials and goods.

He said such pricing or mark-up should not be accepted by MRD as Constituencies are eligible for tax remissions and exemptions on their purchases, therefore prices charged to constituencies under the PSA should be more less than prices displayed on the shop counter and shelves.

“For example, Sir, a hardware in Honiara is selling a Makita plane for $1,980 as displayed on the price tag in the shop.

“That same Makita plane when it is acquired by the constituency under the PSA is charged $4,180, a difference of $2,200 – more than enough for another Makita plane,” he said.

Tei’ifi said basically the government under the Preferred Supplier Agreement is agreeing on and contracted to purchase and implement a project at a cost of two or three projects.

He said this is not a joke and is not sustainable for use of public funds to benefit the people of this nation.

“This is a total rip off and day light robbery of public funds, in a scheme that is seen as normal and legalised through government contracts and agreements.

“Sir, if this scenario or scheme is applied to all government funded projects, it simply means the government is budgeting for a project at a cost of two or three similar projects.

“The same for government recurrent expenditures,” he added.

Furthermore, Tei’ifi asked where is the tax incentives, remissions, and exemptions applied to government expenditures in this?

“No wonder sir, we appropriated billions of dollars for projects over the years and yet nothing much achieved.

“Sir, that is why I like the PCDF model where upon completion of projects, a bill board must be put up to display the contractor and cost of the project for public view and opinion to ensure transparency and accountability on the part of the contractor and project administrators,” he said.

“Sir, our combined leadership and shared responsibility in this chamber must be harnessed and enhanced through team work in areas of importance to this country and our people.

“We must not be blinded and selfish in pursuit of our political interest to retain power, remain in power, and enjoy benefits of politics, and our positions at the expense of the people,” he said.

Tei’ifi said Solomon Islands is the 73 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.

He said the “Corruption Perceptions Index” for the public sector showed 57 points out of 100 in the Solomon Islands for 2021.

“We could be improved and do better than this.

“Mr Speaker Sir, we as Members of Parliament and national leaders should take leadership in ensuring accountability and good governance in CDF and public funds allocated to the constituencies,” he added.

Tei’ifi said MPs as legislators are accountable for spending almost one third of the government consolidated funds that we ourselves appropriated, through the CDF grant, and line ministries constituency priority project allocations. 

“Sir, with these, I am of the opinion that DCGA under its redirection policy should seriously and quickly consider redirecting the use and accounting for CDF grants by developing a blue print and improving the CDF Act 2012.

“Sir, this equal distribution method for CDF must be amended to ensure fairness and equity to our people.

“We as leaders are accountable to the people of Solomon Islands and not just our constituency or worst still those that voted for us,” he added.

Discover more from Theislandsun

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading