Sade-led gov’t settles workers NPF arrears

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GUADALCANAL Province under the leadership of Premier Francis Sade says it has cleared $3 million outstanding National Provident Fund (NPF) arrears for all its workers last week.

And a statement from the province says this was a milestone achievement for the Sade-led Government for Inclusive Change and Sustainable Development (GICSD).

“This settlement was confirmed by the SINPF Enforcement Officer who deals with the Guadalcanal Provincial Government arrears via an email,” the statement said.

“In retrospect, these GPG arrears from SINPFs had dated back to 2016,” the statement added.

“Due to the surcharges the debt continued to be accumulated over the course of 6 years, until the GICSD had improved the Financial and Treasury Division and settled the long outstanding debt last week.”

According to the GP Finance and Treasury Division, previous attempts to settle the debts were inconsistent due to lack of proper and strong compliances to will for debt servicing within the division.

“In terms of the provincial debts in general, the GICSD had inherited almost more than $20 million debts since the 2019/2020 FY.

“As a result, debt servicing made the biggest percentage of the three previous financial budgets (2019/2020, 2020/2021, and 2021/2022), in terms of the recurrent expenditures.

“To make matters worse, the negative economic impacts of Covid-19 on the national GDP growth, especially the projected 4.3 percent decline from last year, and the recent budget cut by 12.7% in the 2021/2022 FY from the national government, are the major challenges facing the GICSD to declare the province debt free by 2023.

“Despite these economic challenges, Premier Sade was determined that his current Executive will continue its debt-servicing strategy.

“We have to acknowledge that despite the inherited debts of more than $20 million and the current negative impacts of Covid-19 on our economy, we still maintain our debt servicing strategy.

“It is a matter of continuation of strengthening our financial treasury division and maintaining a strong workforce to increase our local revenues in our productive sectors,” Sade explained.

Furthermore, he said new (debt) claims submitted from individuals and businessmen dated back in the late 2000s had also recently emerged.

“However, some of these claims look dubious and the GP Legal and Policy units are in the process of ensuring their legitimacies.

“The GP’s biggest creditor is the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) due to its previous provincial scholarship arrangements.

“It is estimated that GP still owes SINU $4 million from its almost $8 million debt.

“Consequently, the GICSD will be improving its local revenue collections by the second (2nd) quarter of this 2021/2022 FY.

“So far, this is the only strategy to achieve its debt servicing.

“In summary, based on previous appropriation ordinances (financial budgets), the GICSD is the first Executive to vigorously pursue debt servicing.

“Hence, the settlement of the GP’s NPF arrears is an obvious proof to that.”