There seem to be no sense of direction in the government of Western Province since the dissolution of the provincial assembly in June 2022.
This is because for over 5 months there has been no care-taker government in the Province until after the provincial elections of 14th December 2022.
Only the Deputy Provincial Secretary has been running the show but seems to lack sense of community. This is the first time in history this kind of thing has happened in this province.
Most decisions are being made administratively and legality of matters transacted without political governance decision making may be contrary to the PGA 1997.
In many instances, complacency had set in. For example PCDF contractors had been affected for no payment of contract dues and time is ticking away.
Most recently, the PCDF funded cocoa drier projects for Nyarovai and Varese on Vella la Vella island had been approved by the Western Provincial government tender board.
Apart from perhaps the (20%) mobilization disbursement (if any), the province is silent on further disbursement of funds for almost one month now.
The officers responsible have been up and down to and from Honiara. Yet there is about $6 million allocated under PCDF projects for 2022. The responsible officers are not doing their work or just do not know what to be done. Procrastination is delaying PCDF projects due to perhaps conflict of interest in the provincial administration, and particularly the treasury division.
The PCDF Mile Six cattle project paddock posts have not been forth-coming despite funds had been disbursed.
This project may need to be reviewed and re-tendered as the money paid out seem to have gone down the drain.
Another PCDF undertaking is the Mile Six cattle project stock yard and slaughter house project. This was put on tender in November 2022.
The tender closed on 16th November. There has not been any date set for the deliberation on tenders. The responsible officers seem to be taking unending trips to Honiara for unknown reasons. What is going on?
Western Province has about four officers of MPGIS under contract at post. When on tour the rate is about $300.00 per day in touring allowance.
So taking trip to Honiara is good money-making trip plus accommodation allowance which when residing with relatives is claimable for the pocket.
The contracted officers are answerable to MPGIS but serve the province – owing loyalty to no-one in the province. The allowance component for touring is paid out from provincial funds. That is how MPGIS drains provincial funds.
Notable is sectarian biasness in recruitment which appears to hamper progress in the provincial contracted workforce because of conflict of interests. What is needed is sectarian balance to best serve the public interest.
A quick flashback over the last four years, nothing much happened in Western Province in terms of tangible development from provincial funds under Provincial Government Act 1997. This is because everything had been re-centralized under PGA 1997. The PGA 1981 was a better Act which devolved functions to the provinces with the budget for the functions paid into the provincial consolidated funds.
Since 1997 the change through PGA 1997, the so-called devolved functions allocations were retracted by the central government and paid direct to the purported ministries in the provinces.
Some foreign experts in MPGIS are making money out of the system through PCDF programming and literally displacing the fundamental functions of legitimately elected provincial governments.
Those who ran the provincial governments during this period of time will agree on this.
We cannot go on like this half a century after independence. It is time to change the PGA 1997 so as to lay the foundations for federal governance in the country, not through PCDF programming.
Legitimately elected provincial politicians need a working tool that betters the PGA 1997.
Good luck to all winning candidates for the provincial elections on 14th December 2022 in the West.
By Noel Salatau,