By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE Government has approved a targeted fiscal and economic consolidation strategy to cope with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Solomon Islands.
Fiscal policy measures thus far have focussed on additional spending to support COVID-19 preparedness and containment efforts.
Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma told Parliament on Tuesday that immediately after the Strategy was approved by cabinet, MoFT has imposed the following measures under the general orders vested in the Minister and Permanent Secretary of Finance under Part 3 sections 7 and 9 of the Public Financial Management Act 2003.
He said that focusses on the management of Public Finance and in consistent to the Prime Minister’s power under the Emergency Powers Act Regulation recent gazetted by the Governor General.
These measures include:
- Prioritization fixed and mandatory expenditures and COVID-19 related spending pressures, and other priority commitments approved by cabinet;
- Stop and defer all discretionary and non-essential expenditures;
- Reprioritization or reallocation of the 2020 budget to fund additional COVID-19 emergency pressures and
- Other payments from now on will be deferred and payments relating to the broad categories below will not be entertained until further notice.
- Training – local and overseas
- Stationeries and toners
- Printing of documents and
- Purchases of laptops and desktops
Minister Kuma said the execution of these measures will be difficult and challenging for all ministries in the management and implementation of programmes within respective budgets.
“However, Solomon Islands is already in a state of public emergency and our greatest priority now must be refocussed to protect and minimise the COVID-19 impact on health, social and economic security of the people of Solomon Islands,” he said.