CDF POLICY DEVELOPED

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By EDDIE OSIFELO

GOVERNMENT is developing a new policy that will guide the management and delivery of the highly controversial Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Dr Samson Viulu disclosed this to reporters yesterday,

Provincial-wide consultation, Viulu said, has begun in Isabel Province.

“This policy framework will set the basis for a MRD internal taskforce to develop the drafting instructions for the proposed review of the CDF Act 2013,” Viulu said.

“It will also further enhance the planning, coordination, implementation and management of the CDF,” he added.

Viulu said the new policy is also expected to address the issue of ownership of properties, equipment and machines purchased from CDF, but often taken over by the sitting MP after he or she lost the seat.

Furthermore, he said the police will explore the establishment of Constituency Development Centres to bring government services to rural people to grow the economy.

He said the policy will try to narrow down the focus of CDF because as it is now, “the scope is too wide”.

“Maybe focus on social, economic, infrastructures or livelihoods,” he said.

Viulu added the policy will also look at the governance of CDF – whether the delivery mechanism is already.

“The vision of the CDF policy is to achieve safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities across the country by 2035.”

Viulu mentioned that some national leaders are open to the idea to remove MPs from being signatories of the constituency bank accounts and leave it to constituency committees.

He said the police will also seek to establish strong and effective collaboration with other ministries on delivering the projects.

Under CDF, each constituency is allocated up to $6 million a year.

But these funds are currently controlled and managed by sitting MPs.

MPs also decide who benefits and how it is allocated.

Often, MPs have been accused of using the funds to pay supporters and keep them in power.

Although the funding was established to develop the 50 constituencies, there’s very little being translated into actual development.

Over the years, Solomon Islanders have been calling for the abolition of CDF and its removal from the control of MPs.

But those calls have fallen on deaf ears, and MPs continue to have access to the millions of dollars given in the name of constituency development.


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