SIG’s excess spending ignite issues of outstanding payment
BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
STUDENTS of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) are appealing the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) to pay their outstanding scholarship allowance.
Yesterday, Chairman for the Public Account Committee and MP for East Honiara Mr Douglas Ete has revealed SBD$2.7 million, a travel expense for Government delegation to PNG for APEC, an amount denied by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Not only that, for this year alone, Government has spent SBD$4 million for catering during cabinet meetings with SBD$38 thousand per week.
Following that, Government also purchase a land from Hatanga. This has come as a surprise from the general public and tax payers in the country.
From these spending, there comes the SINU student raising their concern relating to government’s expenditure and the outstanding amount yet to be pay for scholars.
Former Solomon Islands National University Students Association (SINUSA) representative Mr Chris Toata said they are curious about government spending, and such spending is fitting to meet their demands.
He said with the revelation of SDB$2.7M and others, on behalf of the SINUSA members he is appealing to government to consider pay outstanding student’s scholarship allowances.
Toata explained that the government led by Manasseh Sogavare already promised in first parliament sitting this year to pay the outstanding payment since 2017 but nothing has been done.
“We find out with support from the revelation, money were spent here and there that is why we were not given our privilege to receive our funds allocated under the scholarship,” he said.
“Some of the students are making commitments that they will repay its dept based on the promised government made on the floor of parliament this year during Manasseh Sogavare led government,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Toata said they are aware that MEHRD has taken on board the issue this year and pledge to pay refunds this year.
However students see it as injustice because was never done as of 2017 to 2018 which cause lot of students are affected from.
For this reason, Toata said they have already taken the issue further to the Ombudsman and will write to them soon.
However, SINU students acknowledged the Ministry Education and Human Resource Development for consistency of allowance payment which students are enjoying during their studies.
Toata thanked MEHRD and look forward to work closely with the government in their ongoing issue of refund of students’ outstanding allowances.
Meanwhile, office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, (OMPC) has described the $2.7 million amount for the APEC meeting as totally inaccurate.
In a statement to the media, OMPC says the total cost was in fact $471,489.50.
OPMC was quite ruffled when the amount of $2.7 million was reported as the cost of the APEC meeting.
The OPMC statement said reporters must practice responsibility.
“Reporters owe it to the reading public to tell the truth. As much as possible, reporters must check to verify their stories before reporting. In this case no one cared to check with the OPMC before publishing the inaccurate and misleading story,” it said.