By EDDIE OSIFELO
INDEPENDENT Leader John Dean Kuku has questioned the two terms ‘Policy Redirection’ and ‘Redirection Policy’ used in the Minister of Finance Speech on the $4 billion budget last week.
On page 1 of his budget speech, the Finance Minister Harry Kuma said. “this budget launches the process of implementing the Government’s Redirection Policy program.”
On page 15, the Minister Kuma said “…. Governments Policy Redirection is to prioritize budget spending on specific targeted objectives in all sectors, with specific focus on the productive and resource sectors…”
Kuma continued to say, “…government had decided to redirect its policy after thoroughly reflecting on our past drawbacks…”
On page 18, the Minister said… “the DCGA Policy Redirection is also committed to redirect resources towards the productive and resources sectors…” whilst on page 26 the Minister said…. “the DCGA Redirection Policy budget allocations towards the resource sectors has been increased…”
Kuku said in his address from the Throne on the 15th March 2021, his Excellency quoted a statement by the Prime Minister on the Redirection Policy.
He said Policy Redirection and Redirection Policy are two different matters and concepts.
“Policy Redirection refers to the prioritization of EXISTING POLICIES and allocating sufficient funds to meet those priorities, example the prioritization of adequate resources to the productive and resource sectors.
“Policy Redirection is about making choices. In doing so, you would have eliminated the choices that are difficult to implement in which the government will redirect its resources,” he said.
Further to that, Kuku said Redirection Policy refers to the CREATION OF NEW POLICIES, which when implemented, will have major impacts on the economy in key selected areas, example the response to Covid 19 pandemic and the Economic Stimulus Package.
“In case of infrastructure development pertaining to the 2023 Pacific Games, I had expected the redirection policy will ensure that there is a quota in place to ensure that Solomon Islanders take a significant pie of the construction work.
“In forestry, I had expected a redirection policy that seeks to ensure the export of more value added timber products,” he said.
“With DBSI, I expected to see that it genuinely targets the productive sector in ways that make it not appear to be a scheme for refinancing of bad loans.
“What are we talking about in this budget, Mr Speaker Sir: policy redirection or redirection policy or a combination of the two?” he asked.
Kuku said here lies the inconsistency and confusion.
The budget debate continues today.