BY GEORGINA KEKEA
PARTICIPANTS to a recent planning and budgeting training on Savo Island has commended the Central Provincial Government for this initiative.
In appreciating the expanded terms of references for the WDCs, Mr John Lopling, Chairman for Ward 9, highlighted during the training that it is good to have wide representation by all sectors within the community in the WDC. He said that this inclusive and participatory planning, together with the MPA, will ensure fairness, inclusiveness and transparency in decision making and development planning at the ward level.
Also. Mr Thomas Tome, Chairperson for Ward 2, expressed similar sentiments and thanked the Central Provincial Government for introducing the Participatory Planning Framework to members of the WDC. Mr Tome emphasised the need for Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) to work closely with their WDC members and ensure everybody participates fully in all development decision making within the wards. He urged MPAs to use the WDGs to implement projects in accordance with the Annual Work Plans of the Wards rather than on personal or other interests.
Meanwhile, Marvin Parina, Chairperson for Ward 1, when discussing the procurement processes, highlighted that there are some projects at the wards that are not completed and this was attributed to failures by contractors, lack of community involvement, and non-compliance to procurement procedures and principles by Provincial staff and MPAs.
Chairperson for Ward 7, Mr Nelson Wane, also re-iterated non-compliance as a contributing factor to failure of many donor funded projects at the community and ward levels. He also highlighted the probabilities of personal interests, misuse of public funds and low or lack of community contribution as other factors contributing to failures of projects.
Wane further stated that communication is also a challenge at community and ward level as sometimes the communities were not aware of projects until the contractors deliver loads of hardware materials at their villages or communities. The communities or wards were not properly and officially informed at all as there were no public advertisements or no information on how the project was awarded to the selected contractor.
All the chairpersons who participated in the training generally felt that there is a greater need for compliance to the procurement principles and procedures for projects to be successfully completed. They urged the Provincial Government and donors to continuously monitor the progress of project implementation and use of funds by the contractors if we want to see more projects completed at the wards.
The Participatory Planning & Budgeting Training for Ward Development Committee Members for Central province was hailed a success with 30 participants including four female ward treasurers. The Central Provincial Government has allocated $3,000 per ward which will be channeled through the WDCs for this purpose.
The Planning Division of the Central provincial government organised the training and pledged that it will continue to provide technical assistance to the WDC’s to ensure and secure genuine participation of the committees in the Provincial planning process.
The two days training, was facilitated by the Provincial Planning Coordinator, Mr John Rapemora, and the Provincial Capacity Development Advisor, Mr Adrian Toni, and was officially opened and closed by the Premier of Central Province, Patrick Vasuni.