A STEERING committee has been established to ensure the successful implementation of the projects earmarked for Suafa and Bina in Malaita Province, Noro in Western Province, Choiseul Bay in Choiseul Province and Tatamba in Isabel Province.
This is part of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government to get some of the national priority projects rolling.
This committee comprises of the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries that have a role to play in the project planning, funding, implementation and evaluation and the DCC Government’s National Consultant on Commerce and Tourism, Martin Housanau and National Consultant on Land Management, Genesis Kofana.
A statement from the Prime Ministers Office said, these ministries include the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of National Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Ministry of Provincial Government.
“The task of the steering committee is headed by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry for Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration is to identify the impediments to the implementation of the projects earmarked for Suafa, Bina, Noro, Choiseul Bay and Tatambaso that the government can take immediate steps to address them,” said the National Consultant onCommerce and Tourism Mr Housanau.
Mr Housanau said, the purpose of including relevant permanent secretaries in the committee is to ensure they are clear about the government’s expectation from their ministries in terms of the planning and implementation of these projects and give right directives to their respective ministerial staff for action.
He said, the committee had its first meeting on Mondayand identified the reasons why these projects never took off the ground and they included the lack of political will, lack of project implementation capacity and commitment at the ministerial level and insufficient logistical and budgetary support.
He said, the first impediment is no longer an issue as the DCC Government has demonstrated a strong political towards the implementation of these projects.
The National Consultant on Commerce and Tourism said, in terms of lack of project implementation capacity and commitment at the ministerial level, the steering committee has decided that a project implementation unit be set up under the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration to specifically deal with the implementation of all national projects and drawing up of project concepts and designs.
Mr Housanau said, a number of positions vacant in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration will also be filled up soon as part of capacity strengthening exercise.
To address problem of insufficient logistical and budgetary support, Mr Housanau said, the steering committee will put together a Cabinet Paper for the endorsement of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the Ministry of National Development Planning and Aid Coordination to prioritise these projects in terms of funding allocation and timeliness in the release of funds during the project implementation process.
Meanwhile, the National Consultant on Land Management, Mr Kofana added that the first steering committee meeting on Monday agreed that a scoping mission comprising of 20 officials representing the nine Ministries responsible for the planning and implementation of the Suafa and Bina projects and Mr Housanau and himself will be deployed to Malaita Province next week to meet with the Malaita Provincial executive and the landowners of Suafa and Bina.
“We will be meeting with the Premier of Malaita Premier and his executive in Auki then will travel to Suafa and then to Bina to meet with the respective landowners and community leaders of these project sites.
“After our meeting in Bina we will debrief the Malaita Premier and his executive about the outcomes of our two meetings with the landowners and communities before returning to Honiara.”
He said the scoping mission is important to gauge views of the Malaita Provincial Government and the landowners and communities about these projects and the level of participation they would like to have in these projects with the investors so the Democratic Coalition for Change Government can map out a way forward.
Mr Kofana said the deployment of the scoping mission should send out a clear message to Malaitans that the DCC Government prioritises the Suafa and Bina projects and should give their full support to ensure these projects are implemented.