Gov’t asks Malaita to forgo $ 6.5 million funding
BY SAMIE WAIKORI
THE National government has asked the Malaita Provincial Government to forgo portion of the service grant and Provincial Capacity Development Fund totaling up to $SBD6.5 million due to lack of finance at the national treasury.
The funds were to be received by the Provincial government for the 2020/2021 financial year.
Premier Daniel Suidani said this is a setback for his government as there was no assurance made, they were only asked to forgo the remainder of the funding for the 2020/2021 financial year which will lapse at the end of this month.
He said although the national government had explained their side on the issue, it has really affected service delivery in the province.
Suidani said the matter is in relation to the slow release of service grants by the national government to Malaita province.
He said during the final quarter of 2020 (October, November and December) his government had to operate with funds collected from local revenue. This is due to the slow release of the service grant.
“On top of that, the remaining $SBD2.8 million, that is part of the service for 2020/2021 financial year was yet to be paid to Malaita province by the national government.
“Later on, we were advised to forgone the remaining grants, as there is lack of finance available at the national treasury.
“In addition, and in terms of the capital budget, my government was also advised last month to forget about the remaining capital funds of $SBD3.7 million yet to be paid by national government to Malaita province.
“These are serious issues that continue to affect my government,” Suidani said.
He said it’s obvious that the national government’s support for the new budget has been reduced. Reason was due to low revenue collection from the national government sources.
Suidani said that shows that Solomon Islands will continue to depend on donor funding until such time the country is able to recover from the negative impacts of covid-19.
“Therefore, it is important that we think strategically and make good use of the little funding support that we have access to in serving our people.
“With that the way forward for Malaita province and the MARA government is to expand the scope of its engagement with private sector actors aligned with the province’s development.
“As a government, our key direction should be on creating an environment that can encourage more private sector participation. This calls for more private sector confidence building,” he said.
Meanwhile, Suidani said as the theme of last year’s 2nd appointed day celebration states, “Malaita Province Resilience in the face of Adversity” MPG must live and show for the theme.
He said it was on this basis that MARA government has to continue to perform amidst those challenges.
Suidani said it is obvious that there is a huge reduction of government support that will impinge on the new financial year’s budget, and no doubt it will affect the policy objectives and directions of MARA government.
He said it’s important to take appropriate actions and measures to deal with the matter by using alternative development approaches to ensure MARA government’s policy is not greatly affected.