Premiers question Policy Redirection

MInister Seleso with Premiers and Malaita supervising Premier. Missing is Western Premier David Gina
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THE Government’s Policy Redirection has not sunk well with some provinces attending the Premiers Conference in Honiara yesterday.

Chief of Staff in the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Robson Djokovic told the Premiers that about $850 million in the National Budget has been allocated towards the Policy Redirection.

This is like half of the $3.9 billion 2021 Appropriation Bill 2021 passed early this year.

Djokovic said the budget targets mainly the productive and resource sectors.

He said $500 million focuses on provincial developments.

“We have lost sight of the importance of provinces’ contribution to the National basket,” Djokovic added.

He said in the past the ministries delivered their budgets, now they want to work with the ministries to develop infrastructures and agriculture sector.

However, Central Islands Province Premier, Stanley Manetiva said alignment and delivery is lacking in the provinces.

Premier Manetiva said there is no delivery to the rural people.

“So I think the redirection means old way of doing it in a new way,” he said.

“In Central Islands, we are close to Honiara and far yet,” he added.

Manetiva said the Government should give the province money to build the wharf at Tulagi and the Government to do the Monitoring and Evaluation.

Makira Ulawa Province Premier, Julian Maka’a thanked the Government for its support.

However, he asked what does the policy redirection means?

Maka’a said the provinces must also re-direct as an agent.

Furthermore, Temotu Province Premier, Clay Forau said while the redirection policy is good for the government under this current situation.

Forau, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the redirection also affects the province because Provincial Capacity Development Fund is not paid in full to the provinces.

“Projects that were awarded last year could not be implemented this year.

“This is a setback because we have to implement projects within 4 years,” he added.

Chief of Staff, Djokovic said re-direction is the priority and objective of the government.

He said it may be doing the same thing in the different way but they are trying to achieve the outcome.

According to the Government, the policy redirection aims to support the economy in response to negative impacts of COVID-19 while maintaining a continued long-term focus on developing Solomon Islands into an economically strong and vibrant nation and advance the livelihood of our people.

This will be achieved by investing heavily on the primary industries and downstream processing.

This includes providing price and support subsidies to the main agricultural export crops such as copra and cocoa, promote kava export and embark  on  a  national  expansion  program  for  noni production.

DCGA will ensure that the Kirakira Cocoa Oil factory is completed in  2021,  Bonale  pineapple  factory  is constructed  in  2021  and  a  cassava  flourmill  is  established  on Guadalcanal for export of cassava flour and livestock feed.

The Premiers Conference ends on 28th September.