Responsible ministry fails to attend BLC hearing, gov’t commitment on revival initiative questioned
By Gary Hatigeva
THE Government’s commitment in ensuring the establishment of its much anticipated Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI) has come under heavy criticism and draws concerns for those who are behind its initiation.
The Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) was due to start its inquiry into the institute’s initiation through a Development Bank of Solomon Islands Bill 2018, but the ministry responsible failed to turn up.
The Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT) who is responsible for the Bill, was supposed to appear with representatives from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands and the Government’s Legal Drafts person, to talk about the bill.
Unfortunately, only the other two parties were present, and this has forced the Committee to adjourn its sitting into the bill for a later date, which the committee said would depend very much on the proceedings into the other outstanding bills.
Chairman of the BLC Matthew Wale when interviewed after the adjournment, explained that the committee has a very tight schedule and cannot afford to be dragged by this bill because they have other bills to look into before parliament resumes at the end of this month.
With less than three weeks left before the house resumes, the BLC Chair expressed his disappointment in the Ministry responsible, for the lack of commitments shown, knowing this is one of the current government’s major policy intentions, and a promise to the rural people of this country.
It is understood that the BLC has written a letter of protest to the Prime Minister and Minister responsible for what was described as, a no-care attitude from ministry officials, particularly those responsible for the DBSI bill.
Island Sun was also told that arrangements were made weeks ahead of the hearing, summoning all those involved in the Bill to appear before the Committee for the inquiry, but the MOFT has not given direct confirmations and these weak responses, according to officials, are questionable as there is likely lack of commitment on the policy agenda.
Meanwhile, a follow up with the Ministry reveals that many of those who are part of the DBSI bill have been engaged in other government occasions, which the BLC thought are mere excuses covering for their unpreparedness to present their case on the bill.
The BLC Chair said everyone involved in the bill were well notified and should have no excuses to miss the hearing.
When adjourning the proceedings into the DBSI Bill 2018, the BLC Chairman stressed that the Committee will probably look into the DBSI Bill later, which will depend very much on their tight schedule, but outlined that for now, the committee will set focus on the Payment System Bill 2018.
Former Prime Minister Sogavare, during his tenure announced his government’s policy intent to re-establish the former Development Bank of Solomon Islands, which was also taken on by the new government under Rick Hou’s leadership.
The intention was something government officials involved in its consultation programmes, revealed to have gotten strong support from the rural people throughout the country, describing it to be a policy that brings new hope for those in such settings to borrow money.
With so much hopes and anticipation, a subcommittee was established to work closely with CBSI for its realization through a proposed legal framework, but the weak coordination from officials and indications of lack of commitments, were highly questioned by supporters of the policy intention, stressing that this bill cannot be left out and must be given priorities in whatever proceedings or processes it will have to go through.