Virus delays Federal

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PM Manasseh Sogavare
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Constitution: PM

By EDDIE OSIFELO

WORK on the long awaited draft Federal Constitution has come to a standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic that prevents an expert from Commonwealth Secretariat from making an economic analysis on it.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare explained in response to question asked by Leader of Opposition, Matthew Wale in Parliament yesterday.

Sogavare said the expert could not come because of the coronavirus.

However if the expert comes, then that person needs to go through the quarantine protocol, Sogavare said.

He said the Government needs to be very clear on the economic analysis of the Federal Constitution.

He said one of the questions is how the Federal Constitution is going to be funded.

However, Sogavare asked officials if it is important to engage a foreigner to do the economic analysis.

Sogavare said if the government cannot get experts outside, then it can engage chartered accountants and local economists to look at it.

Apart from that, Sogavare said three reports need to be furnished before the government in order to chart the direction of where the country is heading.

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The reports are draft Federal Constitution, financial and economic report and peer review report.

Sogavare said under the Federal Constitution there will be three layers of governments.

They are the National Federal Government, State Government (nine provinces) and Community Government.

He said the Traditional Governance Bill which is in progress will help strengthen the Community Government.

He said when the provinces become states, they will have their own constitutions.

The Constitutional Reform Unit (CRU) in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has been assigned to oversee the lengthy process of nationwide consultations together with the drafting process over the past 10 years.

On 12th July 2018, the Joint Constitution Congress (CC) and Eminent Persons Advisory Council (EPAC) have handed the draft Federal Constitution to the government.

Most premiers in the country and people have seen the need for the country to move out from the unitary system adopted from the British Government in 1978 to the Federal system.

Guadalcanal and Malaita Province have also threatened to break away from the National Government and achieved self-autonomy.

Island Sun understands about $150 million have been so far spent in the consultation and administration of setting up the draft Federal Constitution.

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