By EDDIE OSIFELO
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has a $6 million special discretionary fund under his belt, which China has provided.
This fund is part of $6, 586, 146.40 ($800,000 USD) China gave to assist the National Development Fund (NFD) in the Office of Prime Minister, purchase covid-19 equipment and support people in West Guadalcanal affected by recent Cyclone Harold.
About $200,000 of the fund has already been given to the people in West Guadalcanal.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Mckinnie Dentana confirmed this when asked by Opposition Leader, Mathew Wale during the Public Accounts Committee hearing yesterday.
PAC is enquiring into the $385, 001,627 the Government is asking parliament to approve through the 2020 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020.
The committee is also enquiring into the $206, 088,696 in the 2019 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020 later.
Under the 2020 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020, the total recurrent for contingency warrants is $8,550,000, advance warrants of $373,097,091 and development expenditure of $3,354,608.
Dentana said the China allocations appeared in the advance warrant because it is a separate allocation and does not come through Government finances.
Furthermore, he said China has offered to provide $90 million, which was approved in this year’s budget but is yet to be released,
“The money is going to be disbursed through the Ministry of Rural Development,” Dentana said.
The Sogavare Government last year brought in a $3.8 billion budget for the 2020 financial year, which Parliament past last December.
Opposition leader Wale said the NDF should be renamed “National Shameful Fund” because it is foreign money given specifically to allow the Prime Minister to hold the solidarity of the government and advance a foreign agenda.
Island Sun understands in the past the Opposition accused former Prime Ministers of using a ‘special discretionary fund’ funded by Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan to keep government MPs together and promote the donor’s interest.
Prime Minister Sogavare switched the nation’s 36-year diplomatic ties with Taiwan to China last August.