Gov’t looks to commence Strata Bill March 2019

By Gary Hatigeva

THE Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) is looking to have the Strata Titles Bill 2017, once passed, be commenced before the middle of next year.

Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey, Andrew Manepora revealed this when questioned over his ministry’s expected timeframe, based on government policy direction, during day one of committee proceedings into the Strata Titles Bill.

In his question, the Member of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga who is also Chair of the Bills and Legislation Committee, Matthew Wale questioned what forward planning the ministry has invested into the bill.

“Looking at the prerequisite requirements especially, the length of time that you will need and are confidence for the commencement of the act,” Wale said.

Meanwhile, Minister Manepora in his reply, revealed that the ministry is looking at around March next year for the commencement of the bill.

And that, the Minister added that it will be realised once everything especially when all the formalities and capacity trainings are in place for the implementation of the act, before we can make the act to be commenced.

“If we do all the capacity building and if we are satisfied that the ministry is ready to implement the act, the ministry is looking at next year,” Manepora reiterated.

However, those from the opposition and independent groups disagreed, highlighting that the timeframe projected is too short and needs to be expanded.

Speaking out on this, the Independent Leader, Dr Derick Sikua recalled that during the inquiry of BLC into the Bill, there were strong arguments from staff of the ministry, particularly, from the office of the Surveyor General and the office of the Registrar of Titles including those of the Honiara City Council.

He said they were of the professional view that two years will be an appropriate timeframe, long enough for all trainings and capacity strengthening programmes for all three particular bodies that will be in charge of implementing the act.

“And I therefore think March will not be enough for the capacity programme to properly equip those responsible,” Sikua said.

But the Minister thought otherwise, pointing out that there are supporting mechanisms indicated, which has given them the confident to project it to the end of the first quarter of next year.

“Certainly we are looking at March because SPC has assured us that they will assist in funding the capacity building programme and so we are thinking that if it’s fully supported, it will not need to take that long as two years will be too much for a projection.

“Therefore, we are anticipating March in our proposed programme,” the Lands Minister told parliament.

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