Playing with time?

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Parliament
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Government claims short time-frame challenge, but adjourns first parliament meeting

By Gary Hatigeva

PARLIAMENT was yesterday adjourned to this morning after a brief overview of Businesses that were set out for presentations and debates, according to Parliament’s order paper.

The adjournment came following the first reading of the Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill 2017 and the Citizenship Bill 2017.

Other businesses were put forward for today and tomorrow.

The adjournment has however raised questions amongst members of the aid donor community, who are big players in a lot of the government policies, officials from government agencies, who are implementers of highlighted policies and legislations, and the general public, regarding the urgency of matters to be dealt with, given time limitation at hand.

Concerns were pointed towards the Government, whom many say had seen it fit to adjourn even its first meeting in the seventh session of the 10th Parliament and found it more important to attend to a launching occasion.

Island Sun understands that the Prime Minister was attending the launch of the “Consolidating Peace, Stability and Social Cohesion in Solomon Islands Post RAMSI 2018” Project where he was also the keynote speaker.

However, a follow up with the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on this revealed that Parliament was adjourned to allow the Bills Committee of parliament to complete its report on the Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill 2017 and have it tabled in parliament before parliament can proceed to debate that bill.

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Response from the OPMC explained that the Bills committee have not done so yesterday so debating of that bill could not proceed.

“Further the finalisation of 2018 budget is still progressing so Government needs some time today (yesterday) to deal with that issue so the 2018 budget can be finalized quickly so it gets to Parliament next week.

“This is basically a budget meeting of parliament so every effort must be made to ensure the 2018 budget is finalised so it gets to parliament,” the responding statement further explained.

OPMC states further added that having parliament sit and in session will give no time to Government to sit and finalise the 2018 budget thus the need to also adjourn.

It is understood that the government has only around seven months to deliver and see that most of its policies are implemented particularly the ones enlisted as key priority areas,

These concerns have however highlighted that even the priority list alone, requires more than the given timeframe, and the government is therefore urged to fast track of all its processes and progresses in its preparations.

This would allow parliament to carry out with its mandated duties and to see that government businesses and policies are set for implementation, and in particular, the 2018 National Budget.

Parliament will resume at 9.30am this morning.

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