By ANDREW FANASIA
FORMER special secretary to three previous prime ministers Andrew Muaki has called on the Government to prioritise public expenditure.
Muaki, who now resides in Brisbane, Australia, said the Government seems to spend tax payer’s money carelessly.
He expressed these in the wake of the Government’s decision to spend $9.65 million for the Team Solomon contingent to the Samoa Pacific Games.
It’s understood this is the largest ever assistance provided by the Government and its taxpayers to any games contingent.
"The Government needs to set its foot down and say to itself we are going to fund this but not that,” Muaki stated.
“I would have thought spending close to $10 million on our students’ allowances is a good investment than sending visitors to the Pacific Games for few days with no tangible return on investment,” the former SSPM said.
Muaki said he finds it somewhat ironic that the Government is often too slow or blames revenue shortfall for not meeting its commitments.
“Student allowance is an entitlement agreed to between the government and students provided the latter agrees with the scholarship arrangement.
“I do not think those who will participate in the Pacific Games in Samoa are entitled to government allowances or sponsorship.
“If anything the expectation for sponsorship should come from various sporting federations and not our already struggling government," Muaki added.
He further stated that it does not look good for the government to seek donor funding for social services such as health and education when the government spends millions of tax payers money on non-essential matters.
"The government should focus on priorities that will have a positive impact on our economy and not burn millions on areas that bring no positive returns to tax payers.
“Just giving away approximately $10 million for some people to go to Samoa in my view is a serious waste of tax payers’ money and a bad investment,” Muaki added.
He calls on the government to be custodians of and wise spender of tax payers’ money.
Muaki said the government’s 100 days program should be on getting rid of wasteful spending and bringing only smart spending where tax payers get value for money.
According to the chairman of the National Hosting Committee (NHA) Dr Jimmie Rodgers, this funding support to Team Solomon is the largest ever assistance provided by the government.