By AATAI JOHN LAUNGI
THE National Transport Fund (NTF) that’s being used to improve infrastructure in the country is seeking another $112,000,000 in the supplementary budget.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week to reveal the amount asked for NTF in the $226,000,000 million supplementary budget.
The Ministry confirmed that a total amount of $112,000,000 is purposely for NTF.
As revealed, the breakdown is that $1.1 million for unpaid contracts, $4.8 million for cash rent, $6 million for the remaining cost of Melanesian Arts Festival (MACFest), $10 million for Solomon Islands National University, $12.5 million for election preparation and $0.9 million for outstanding electronic passport.
MoFT officials said the government is fully committed to the overall budget and reiterated that the budget process is robust.
When seeking clarification on the NTF, prime minister (PM) Rick Hou explained on Saturday on board the Australian HMAS Adelaide that the fund is different from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Shipping grant.
He said the NTF is largely funded by Australia and ADB with the Solomon Islands Government.
The prime minister explained that the NTF has its own board to decide on how and what to use the money on, given the high demand for infrastructures in the country.
He said MPs have no say in the fund and that is different from the shipping grants or other funds which politicians were criticized for allegedly abuse.
Mr Hou added that infrastructure projects funded under NTF is determined by aid donors, but not Solomon government.