Gov’t defends NDF money

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An example of the NDF achieving its purpose is the recently refurbished and electrification of the Seghe Area Health Center in Marovo Constituency
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THE Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement has denied accusations that the Prime Minister’s $200,000 National Development Fund (NDF) is for political expediency and NOT for development.

This after Opposition Leader, Mathew Wale described the continued funding of the so-called National Development Funds (NDF) by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) directly to support the Prime Minister and MPs in his government as “shameful”.

Documents show the PRC Embassy in Honiara has pumped in $7.8 million to support the 39 Members of Parliament in the Government.

Each member received $200,000 from the total funding.

However, the Prime Minister Press Secretariate has responded that this is not true.

“The NDF was first established by the ROC when they provided these funds for discretionary use by the Prime Minister,” it said in a statement.

“Previous Prime Ministers have exercised their discretion in allocating these funds. However, when ROC gave these funds they did not require that these funds be used for development projects,” the statement added.

“This has now changed under the Peoples Republic China but only until 2022.

“This arrangement is to ensure a transitionary period after we switched diplomatic relations and will end in 2022.

“However, under PRC, the NDF will only be used for development projects upon application.”

It says Opposition MPs may wish to submit their proposals to the Prime Minister’s Office if they wish to.

“Wale’s false ignorance is shameful.

“It is NOT the PRC’s intention to interfere with national politics nor an egregious breach of Solomon Islands sovereignty as Wale erroneously claimed,” PMO said.

“PRC does not even intend this to undermine the government’s ability to maintain semblance of independence in its foreign policy, far from it.  

“These funds are for developing the constituencies through projects. For example, these NDF was used in the Marovo Constituency to connect the hospital to the main power grid, repainting of the full hospital, electrical rewiring and refitting, purchase and installation of ceiling fans and air cons,” it said.

“Wale was there last week during the inquiry into the Public Health Emergency Bill, yet he has accused the Government of using the funds for political purposes when these funds were actually used to benefit the sick people of Marovo Constituency.

“The politicization of the diplomatic switch to PRC overt and covert by some of our politicians is becoming childish and tedious,” it said.

“We should all be focusing on development and not on politicking,” it said.

The Embassy of China in Honiara has not responded emails Island Sun sent them for comments.

ENDS///


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