A staggering revelation that all 50 Members of Parliament (MP) take charge of nearly $334 million in the name of constituency development funds a year.
This is around SBD$6.68m per MP in one year.
Deputy Director of the Ministry of Rural Development, Matilda Watesao, revealed his when speaking to students of Murivai primary school Vanikoro island, Temotu Province fortnight ago.
She pointed out these funds were provided by the governments of Solomon Islands and the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan.
Ms Watesao highlighted this as part of her Ministry’s public awareness programme to educate the rural masses of Solomon Islands.
She said, each MP is entrusted,with taking charge of six million six hundred and eighty thousand (SBD$6.68m) dollars each year.
“Of the total amount each Member of Parliament is allocated for use in his/her constituency, five point 28 million ($5.28m) dollars by the Solomon Islands government while the rest, one point four million ($1.4m) dollars comes from donation by the government of the Republic of China or Taiwan.
Ms Watesao told the students the Ministry of Rural Development releases the funds to each respective members of parliament for purposes of development in their respective constituencies.
She said,implementation of the funds come under the discretion of each member who must endorse whatever development project needs his/her constituents prefer.
She said, payment for material goods for projects is duly endorsed and approved by each respective Member of Parliament and is processed by the Ministry of Rural Development.
Ms Watesao pointed out that MPs are in fact custodians of the money so people must not be mislead by thinking it belongs to individual MP.
She encouraged members of the public to seek assistance in development projects from their respective parliamentary representatives.
“Much of the funds come from tax-payers money and in view of that it would be wrong to hold unnecessary fear of approaching MPs for assistance.”
Provincial Premier of Temotu Province, Baddley Soakifono,expressed gratitude on behalf of his people to Ms Watesao for what he described as high motivation education awareness campaign.
Premier Soakifona said, such information provided to the students and the public of Vanikoro islands was an eye-opener to many of them.
He said, the revelation about millions of dollars MPs take charge of which are intended for development purposes in their constituencies was news to them.
He said for many of them, it was their first time to have learnt about it.
By DENVER NEWTER