‘Chasing after COVID-19 funds’

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REPORTS have emerged that government institutions and officers are chasing after the COVID-19 funds for extra allowance.

A source who wants his name withheld said there have been incidents where officials were diverting tasks that provincial officials can carry out to Honiara-based public officers.

“It is disappointing to see this manipulating of tasks arrangements at the top level in terms of needed tasks in the provinces,” the provincial source said.

“An example is; when there is an incident at Shortland Islands, institutions in Honiara sent their officials to carry out the task rather than contacting provincial disaster focal points to execute it,” the source added.

“Most of the tasks have been decided by higher offices in Honiara and we know, they are running after the COVID-19 funds because there will be hefty allowances allocated for those who carry out the tasks.”

The source adds that provincial officials [frontline workers] are capable of executing the tasks required in any COVID-19 situation in the Western border.

The source further stated that sending officials from Honiara is not only bypassing provincial frontline workers but also a costly exercise for the government.

“We are complaining about low cash flow, but we turn to forget some of our actions contribute to eating up the government budget.

“If we do the right thing with moral values and responsibility, we will save funds for rainy days,” the source said.

Speaking during the meeting held between Western Provincial Executive and Parliament Health and Medical Service Committee this week, Provincial Secretary of Western Province who is also the Chair of Western Province Disaster Committee, Jeffrey Wickham said Western Provincial Disaster Committee has been a spectator as most of the plans and jobs bypass provincial disaster offices.

He said there is no proper coordination between national disaster office and the provincial disaster office, by passing provincial disaster officers in the process.

Wickham said National Disaster Committee and the Provincial Disaster Committee must be on the same page on COVID-19 programs and activities.