New provincial government welcomed with $5m debt


Malaita’s new provincial government is faced with the unwelcoming task of clearing a $5-million debt in outstanding arrears.

The Malaita New Government for Fundamental Redirection (MNGFR) upon assuming power, immediately dons responsibility to clear more than $5 million owed to wards under the ward development grant (WDG).

This amount stems from 2021/2022 to 2022/2023 financial years and is likely to continue into the next financial year, 2023/2024 which will begin in April 2023.

Chief Planning Officer for Malaita province, Mr Peter Herehura said since 2021 ward development committees (WDCs) were not fully paid their ward development grants.

He said the issue has been a setback for WDCs especially for communities which should have benefited from mini-projects implemented through wards grants.

Herehura explained that a few factors contributed to the slow payment of WDGs.

These include,

  • Delay by WDCs to retire ward grants
  • Slow delivery of service grants (15 percent contributed to WDG)
  • Funding of unbudgeted activities
  • Weak internal revenue collection

He said ward grant depends entirely on the internal revenue of the province as it contributes up to 85 percent of its total budget.

Herehura said for the past two financial years, revenue collection has been hindered by lots of areas like covid-19 and challenges faced on Malaita’s revenue mobilisation strategy.

He stressed that this is one area needing strengthening – the province does not have strong internal revenue based like other provinces.

Herehura said an inclusive effort is needed by WDCs through their MPAs to work closely with the revenue team of the province to fortify the revenue mobilisation strategy.   He said MNGFR is behind the issue is planning a one-off payment of the ward grant arrears when funds are available.

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