MoFT staff hailed for commitment, effort - Solomon Star News

MoFT staff hailed for commitment, effort

19 December 2017
(L-R) MoFT Permanent Secretary, Harry Kumar, Pastor Henry Kuma, Pastor Eric Takila and the Deputy PM cutting th MoFT 2017 Christmas cake.

STAFF of the Ministry of Finance & Treasury (MoFT) staff received acknowledgment for their commitment and effort rendered towards the Ministry and in facilitating government services this year.

Deputy Prime Ministry (DPM) and the Minister of Finance & Treasury (MoFT) Manasseh Sogavare made the acclamation during the Ministry’s (MoFT) 2017 Christmas Party held at the Pacific Casino Hotel on Friday 8 December in Honiara.

The event has pulled in together all divisional staff within the Ministry (MoFT) where they interacted and mingled with each other as they relish to the Christmas Chants (Carol) put on stage by each division.

It was a colourful gala as all Ministry’s division wore their alluring outfits tailored in various colour and pattern to party the time (event).

The highlight of the event was the Choir Competition and the MoFT 2017 Star Award exhibition to reward and recognised best performing individual within the Ministry which also coincided with the 2017 MoFT SPORT FEST presentation of top prizes to winning teams and awards of appreciation to divisional teams and individual players.

The event was graced by Mr Sogavare and his family and the Pastor Eric Takila who delivered a sermon at that time before the actual celebration kicks-off.

Mr Sogavare said  as the Ministry responsible for performing the very important functions of mobilising, allocating, and keeping account public funds; and in pursuing important reforms to grow the country, the year 2017, especially has had its own unique challenges.

“We have seen and experienced changes in political leadership including our very own Ministry.  But in spite of the challenges, the Ministry has been committed to delivering on its services – this is because of you, the Ministry officers, with the love and support of your families.

“So it is time for you to celebrate! To mark your good work, reward your own efforts and to reflect on some of our achievements over this year.

“Together, we can positively impact on development in the Solomon Islands,” Mr Sogavare said.

On the cash situation, Minister Sogavare said, 2017 has been a very difficult year in revenue collection because the Ministry (MoFT) were asked to collect against unrealistic budget estimates.

“It has also been a difficult year because of the additional spending pressures that have been placed on us to meet, stretched our resources and personally stressed some of our staff.  But against this difficulty, I note that your performance against the targeted budget has been excellent, including the progress that has been achieved in collecting outstanding debt by the Inland Revenue Division (IRD).

“This is highly commended. We are still able to deliver services to our people because of you and the administrative measures that have been implemented to enhance collection.

“I believe you can achieve greater results and encourage you to continue with the good work in 2018,” he emphasised.

Mr Sogavare also recognised and thanked the acting Accountant General and her staff at the Treasury for the very difficult task of meeting wide-ranging payment demands from the Ministries, public servants salary and government suppliers and contractors, under a precarious cash flow situation.

“Honestly, you have a very stressful job and I wish to commend your commitment and wise diligence in standing up to these demands while ensuring the essential payments for essential government services are met.

“I also recognise that under circumstances where you have been directed to accommodate self-interest and political agendas during budgeting development, a responsible budget that is fiscally prudent and in line with your professional advice cannot be developed.

“Through the guidance and the coordination of Budget Unit, however, the Ministry has developed and implemented strategic fiscal measures and financial controls that have kept excessive spending at bay.  This effort is ongoing and I urge you to continue with the good work we have achieved so far,” he added.

Mr Sogavare also commended the National Statistics Office (NSO) for its excellent quarterly publications, the implementation of the National Statistics Development Strategy (NSDS), the preparatory work towards the national census in 2019, and for other survey and statistical work.

“Properly devised policy that is based on accurately collected data is key to developing solutions to the many social and developmental challenges Solomon Islands is experiencing.  You are doing a great national service to our people.

“There is also key policy advice, reforms, priority infrastructure projects, financing, investigative work and collaboration with other stakeholders and development partners which are worthy of commendation.

“In spite of delays due to factors that are outside of your control, you have been very patient and dedicated to progressing important reforms and projects such as the submarine cable project, Tina River Hydropower project, revitalisation of Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI), the Solomon Islands Airport Management Corporation, and the development of various economic and financial legislative instruments,” he said.

“I wish to also thank you for the oversight role you have provided to ensure proper corporate governance in our State Own Enterprises (SOE’s); and in maintaining the “bridge” which was deliberately burnt to isolate our good development partners.  The recent resuscitation of the Core Economic Working Group (CEWG) is a culmination of the good work that you have been engaged in, together with our development partners.

“The auditing and investigative work the Ministry is engaged in under the umbrella of Task force Janus has achieved great results in putting officers behind bars and others on suspension. I am very pleased with this result and wish to encourage you that under my leadership I will support you and look forward to achieving more in tackling corruption.

“In hindsight, may I remind officers to respect yourselves, respect the reputation of your families, and to protect the future of your children by being loyal, satisfied and not to engage in fraudulent transactions.  Janus has zero tolerance on corruption and is continually on surveillance for fraud and corruption and can knock on our doors if we cross the lien into corrupt activities.

“…the effective operation of the Ministry and the government as a whole is guaranteed because of the support services provided by Corporate Support Services (CSS) and the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) Information Communication Technology Support Unit (ICTSU) respectively.  The success of the Ministry as an organisation would not be possible without the support provided by these two services.

“The Ministry of Finance and the tasks that you are doing occupies a strategic position in the Government structure. It is the spoke in the wheel of the Government machinery which charts our course, both when the sea is fine and when it is rough.  If we are slack, the Government machinery will be affected. I want the Ministry to take the lead in setting a good example in cost savings, work performance, government and business ethics, and in advancing accountable and good governance practices,” Mr Sogavare said.