Zero budget for women, only youth & children

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BY GEORGINA KEKEA

ONLY $500,000 has been allocated for the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) in the development budget.

While the focus will be on youths and possibly children, women will be the ones missing out on development activities from the national government.

Speaking to Island Sun, Permanent Secretary (PS) of the MWYCFA says for the development budget, there is zero allocation for women.

Dr Cedric Alependeva says the money allocated to them is very small thus only youths and children will be able to benefit in the development sector.

However, he says women can still be able to access funds in the recurrent budget in the form of grants.

Currently, women are fortunate to receive funding from development partners that had continued to assist them in their development needs.

“But should need arise, we can request funds from the contingency warrants.”

Alependava says this assurance had come from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He says because of the limited finances available to MWYCFA, they have met with officials from PMO to raise their concerns which PMO have taken into consideration the issues raised.

In 2017, Island Sun understands $4million was allocated for MWYCFA in the development budget. However only 49 percent of the money was used.

Alependava says this is probably why SIDCCG has decided to lower the allocation in development for MWYCFA.

He says they have been reserving the other 51 percent of the money for development of infrastructure on an area which MWYCFA had earmarked but because of land issues, they had not been able to utilise the money when the financial year ends.

The Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) upon assuming office has made some strong emphasis on pursuing fiscal stability and micro-fiscal discipline in its year in office.

Five months into office, the first of the Ministries to receive the brunt of the SIDCCG’s axe is the MWYCFA.

For youths, Island Sun understands the Youth Division has committed itself to support a Youth Entrepreneurship Council (YEC) under the auspices of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), thus government is obliged to support the YEC through the promised grant.

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