-Govt explains 36-hour lockdown budget
-Police & Health get $1.3m
BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
Government has come out defending its allocation of $1.8 million for the lock-down planned for next week.
The 36-hour exercise will begin at 6pm Sunday, August 29, ending at 6am Tuesday, Aug 31.
Taxpayers over the weekend had questioned this rather large sum especially when government is in a financially tight spot.
Speaking at a radio talkback yesterday, deputy director for the national disaster management office (NDMO) Johnathan Taufiariki said the $1.8million will be used by six sectors of government: Police, Agriculture, Health, Infrastructure, Education and Camp Management.
Mr Taufiariki explains the first three:
Police will be carrying out safety and security for the general public.
Ministry of Agriculture (MAL) will ensure food security and livelihood during those 36 hours. For who exactly, Taufiariki does not elaborate.
Ministry of Health (MHMS) will ensure health and medical services continue throughout the lockdown.
It is still not clear what the roles of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Infrastructure and Camp Management are.
“We have six sectors that will be engaged in this exercise. When all these sectors put together their budget, the total cost is $1.8million.”
Taufiariki adds that $1.8 million is necessary to ensure preparation, which would help the government avoid costs that would be in the ‘ten-fold’ if disaster strikes due to non-preparation.
“If we are not prepared, we will expect to spend 10-fold of this $1.8milliion just to answer and to deal with any community transmission.
“In order for us to test our preparedness and response effort some resources have to be put to use so that to prepare us.
“Preparedness is usually one important area but sometimes people do not take it into considerations because they said that amount should be saved for response purposes.
“But when the response part comes it will be a very expensive cost to pay for.”
Dr Jimmie Rodgers, secretary to the Prime Minister, said there will be a huge number of people involved to implement this lock-down exercise – to ensure it works.
Rodgers said the bulk of the $1.8million will be for Police and Health – “Between these two parties is $1.3million.”
“This is because they are the ones that will do most of work during this period.
“The other sectors that are coming in are for support areas to help the lock down exercise successfully.
“If we are not prepared when the virus hit the cost for us in Solomon Islands on a community transmission even in one day will be using more than $1.8million.
“We are using this money to sharpen our skills, so that we will and can know what to do and what not to do if the virus happens to be in our communities,” Rodgers said.