Malaita Premier decries national government’s funding cuts
By Alfred Sasako
THE nation’s nine Provincial Governments stand to forego $70 million in Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) funding for 2017 and again this year, Malaita Premier Peter Ramohia revealed yesterday.
Premier Ramohia warned, “we may be witnessing the start of the natural death of PCDF, one of SIG’s most successful programmes/mechanisms.”
He told Island Sun yesterday the $70 million loss is made up of $30 million, which the national government had approved but failed to release last year and $40 million being slashed from the current financial year’s allocation.
“Many rural projects being prepared for funding on Malaita, for example, would be shelved because of the funding cuts. These projects include those we had to hold off from 2017 because we received no funding at all that year,” he said.
He described the funding cut this year as “unjustified”.
“The 2017/18 financial year is gone and we are now in a new financial year 2018/2019. Therefore legally provincial governments do not expect to receive this money anymore,” he said on social media on the weekend.
“SIG also drastically cut the PCDF allocation in the current 2018/19 financial year budget by 80 percent from $50million down to $10million. This is a huge unjustified $40million cut.
“In reality this is a huge loss of $70million in PCDF in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years. This simply shows the DCCG and SIDCCG have not prioritised (the) PCDF.
“The PCDF is a ring fenced mechanism which started back in 2007 and in the 10 years up to 2017, more than 1,040 solid community felt-need infrastructure projects in the health, education, water and sanitation, administration buildings, staff accommodations, Jacobs ladders, fisheries centres, coconut crushing mills and sports fields have been completed in all 9 provinces at cost of about $189million creating jobs and benefiting more than 5, 200 people.
“The PCDF is the only successful government programme,” Premier Ramohia said.
The Premier said the failure by the national government to release the $30million approved in 2017/18 coupled with the unjustified huge cut of $40million in the 2018/19 budget shows the SIG is not prioritising PCDF anymore and we may be witnessing the start of the natural death of one of SIG’s most successful programmes/mechanisms (PCDF).
Premier Ramohia said such an unprecedented action by SIG was done on purpose.
“What they are doing is to force Members of the Provincial Assemblies (MPAs) to work under the CDF programme, which Members of Parliament control,” he said.
Premier Ramohia said the nine provincial governments “are quite surprised by the attitude of former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, now the Minister of Finance and Treasury.
“At one point, when he was still the Prime Minister, Mr Sogavare was talking about increasing the PCDF funding level to $100 million a year. Now it is the opposite that is happening.”