DEAR EDITOR, recently I wrote a letter to your newspaper with the title, “The essential steps to better democracy, trust and progress in the Solomon Islands,” and you were kind enough to have considered it for publication.
The letter, in the main, focused on the need for greater transparency on the allocation and use of CDF money following concerns raised at the IMF meeting in Honiara and issues that have been raised by people at the grass roots of society over what is seen to be a lack of development in the various constituencies.
I attributed the whole of CDF money, incorrectly, to emanate from the Republic of China (on Taiwan) but have been corrected in my assumption by Ms Ruth Lioqula of TSI who wrote to me, today, and gave me the following information (quote)
“The funding for the CDF is not all from Taiwan. The bulk of it is from Solomon Islands Tax Payers money. Just as an example in 2016, only 20% of CDF comes from Taiwan Tax Payers funds, 80% is from SIG Public Funds. Breakdown is as follows: Total budget for 2016 is $345,000,000.00. Of this $70,000,000 from Taiwan and $275,000,000.00 is Solomon Islands Tax-payers money or public fund of Solomon Islands.
Better to disseminate the correct information is TSI’s view.”
I am grateful to Ruth for the correct make-up of the CDF although it just adds to my existing concerns over constant complaints, and complaints becoming ever more vocal, about how the CDF money is used to bring about infrastructure, jobs, better livelihoods and generally improve the conditions for the rural communities, especially as I now know that tax payers money makes up the bulk of CDF allocations.