BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
THE National Transport Fund (NTF) Board and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development responds to the “Huge Request” headline article in the Solomon Star recently stating it is erroneous.
NTF in their Press Release yesterday to media outlets said the article erroneously noted that the Ministry is seeking $112M from the supplementary budget to go into the NTF.
The article further provided a limited breakdown of expenditures that the NTF is not mandated to incur under the NTF Act including costs associated with the Melanesian Arts Festival, election preparedness and electronic passport.
Currently there is no supplementary proposal made by MID for NTF activities.
“We wish to clarify the legal framework, nature and composition of the NTF Board. The NTF Act 2009 (No. 3 of 2009) was passed by the National Parliament on 19th March 2009 and received Royal assent on 8th May 2009.
“NTF was established as a special fund for the purposes of maintaining, developing and managing transport infrastructure in Solomon Islands.
“It serves as a mechanism for the government and development partners to fund the transport sector. In 2010, NTF Regulation 2010 was made in accordance to NTF Act 2009 Section 7 for the establishment of NTF Board and Secretariat.
“The NTF Secretariat role was to provide administrative support to the NTF Board. NTF priorities are guided by the National Transport Plan (NTP) 2011-2036 that sets out the strategic and policy framework for maintaining and developing physical infrastructure and transport services, and improving the capacities of government agencies and the private sector in the delivery of services in the transport sector.
“The ultimate decision-making organ is the Board that approves the NTF activities and its funding. It is chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Treasury. The Deputy Chairperson is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development,” said Jimmy Nuake the Head of NTF Secretariat/US Technical under MID.
According to NTF’s Press Release, other members are the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, and Communications and Aviation.
A process is underway to enjoin the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology into the Board.
One seat at the Board is reserved for development partners contributing to the Fund. Currently, these are the Government of Australia (GoA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“We wish to advise members of the public, the press and all interested stakeholders to reach out to the NTF Secretariat for any clarification on the NTF and its current priorities,” said Nuake.