Provincial allocations cut worry

By Mike Puia

A random street survey conducted by the Island Sun yesterday found serious concern about the national government’s proposal to slash allocations for provinces.

The national government is intending to cut Provincial Fixed Service Grants to provinces by half and also reduced funding support provided under the Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF).

The Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) has been administering the PCDF since its introduction in 2008.

The PCDF is supported by the European Union, Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), UNCDF and the national government at $10.8million per year.

RAMSI’s exit last year and EU’s recent pull-out are potential reasons for the government’s intention to slash the fund.

A Mrs Alice Sade pointed out that when the grant and fund were paid to the provinces in full, provinces still encountered challenges.

Sade said any cut to allocations for provinces will definitely cripple provinces.

A Mr John Fakaia said the cut will really affect people in the provinces as provincial governments are ones that are positioned closer to them.

Fakaia said a cut to provincial budget would lead to more people coming to Honiara to find employment, education and access health facilities as services in the provinces are expected to go down.

Some provinces have indicated measures they are considering to fill the gap the budget cut will leave behind. They include increasing business fees and cutting down on staff.

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