Taiwan tightens screws on grants disbursements

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    By Alfred Sasako


    Taiwan has reportedly held off paying its contribution towards the second tranche of the infamous Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) this year in protest against the Ministerial Visit to Mainland China, insiders have told Island Sun.

    At the same time there is unconfirmed reports that Taiwanese Embassy staff in Honiara was “packing up” last week because the trip to Beijing, sanctioned by the DCGA Government, had left Taiwan in uncertain territory.

    Island Sun was unable to independently confirm this report. Several attempts to get comments on the matter from the Taiwanese Embassy were unsuccessful.

    Insiders told Island Sun this week that Members of Parliament were due to receive $2.4 million of Constituency grants this month. But because of the position taken by Taiwan, MPs were paid only $1 million each two weeks ago. The money comes from the Solomon Islands government.

    “Taiwan was supposed to pay $1.4 million as its contribution, but this was not done as Taipei is unsure whether its relations with Solomon Islands would continue after the visit by Ministers to Beijing,” one insider said.

    It is not clear whether assurances by both sides during the past week that the relationship between Solomon Islands and Taiwan remained “rock solid” will get the Taiwanese Embassy in Honiara to release the outstanding payment.

    Meanwhile the Ministerial delegation to China arrived back in Honiara yesterday. The seven-member all-male delegation is expected to report its findings to the government shortly.

    The bipartisan Taskforce, led by Honiara Central MP, Hon Dr John Moffat Fugui, is also expected to report its findings, which would help the Government decide the question of switching relations between the two Chinas.