Half of ESP funds gone

Hurry Kuma Minister of Finance and Tresury
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THE Government has spent $184.5 million of the $309 million under the Economic Stimulus Package.

Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma confirmed this in Parliament yesterday during the motion on resolution to authorise spending under the Consolidated Funds from January to April 2021.

The resolution came about because the Government could not table the 2021 National Budget due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kuma said all Committee’s formal approval process is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month, and notification to the successful recipient, formalities towards formalisation of contract and disbursement of funds will continue.

He assured Parliament that initial monitoring of the early implementation of the Economic Stimulus Package is progressing.

“The process will also include proper auditing on the implementation of the policy and Parliament will be formally presented with a final audit report,” he said.

Furthermore, Kuma said early results on the implementation of the Stimulus Package proves significant positive impact of the package in our economy as figures from the exports of major commodities include copra, kava, and timber proves the achievement of this underlying policy objective of the stimulus package.

He said the three biggest achievers include record production in copra, kava and timber export from June, 2020 to the end of October 2020, despite the covid-19 pandemic.

“Copra production during this period for example reached over 4,000 metric tonnes of copra valued at $3.7 million, and an annual increase of 3,444 tonnes of copra compare to the same period in 2019 despite covid-19.

On kava, Kuma said over 13 thousand metric tonnes of kava was produced and valued at over $4 million.

Furthermore, Kuma said the forestry sectors also revealed early positive impact on the implementation of the stimulus package, as more than four thousand metric tonnes of sawn timbers valued at $12 million were exported since June to October 2020.

He said other preliminary results also comes through from our cocoa trading as almost 700 metric tonnes of cocoa dry beans exported valued at $7 million falls right into the hands of more than 2000 local farmers.

Moreover, Kuma said the ESP also benefited State Owned Enterprises like Solomon Airlines, Solomon Water and Soltuna Company Limited.

He said under the infrastructure component of ESP, three major contracts to be executed are Kirakira ramp, Maluú wharf and Tabaá bridge in Malaita, which work expected to start in December.

Kuma said tender process should commence soon for Fiu Bridge and Segeh airport.