THE Minister of Finance and Treasury, Rick Hou has introduced the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation (No.2) Bill 2014 in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Bill is to appropriate an additional $187.8 million to the service of the year ending 31st December 2014.
Introducing the Bill, Mr Hou said, as a Government it has to ensure that respect is maintained and improved with development partners, our children and citizens continue to be educated and up-skilled, our clinics and hospitals continue to function, our sovereignty and security is maintained, and our justice system continue to function efficiently.
“Therefore, to secure our independence and pride as a sovereign nation, the Government must continue with key investments in social services, infrastructure development and the productive sector,” Mr Hou said.
“Sirwill continue to respond to the demands for services by our people and as before, government may have to, where absolutely necessary, trade off lower priorities with those that are becoming more critical,” he added.
He highlighted two incidents that have had negatively impacted our economy this year since the 2014 budget was delivered.
They were the April flash floods and the suspension of production at the Gold Ridge Mine (GRM) – both of which, he added,are very significant.
That being the case, Mr Hou said the Government has made the most out of our financial avenues to fund flood-related costs.
“In this connection, we must thank our development partners, non-government organizations, business houses and individuals for their generous support in one way or the other,” Mr Hou said.
The Object of the Bill is to supplement additional appropriation of the sum of $187,839,564 to be authorised under the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Act (NO2) 2014 for the service of the year ending 31st December 2014.
This includes additional recurrent and development expenditures and, expenditure incurred by the issue of contingencies warrants and advance warrants.
Mr Hou outlined the breakdown of expenditures as follows:
A total of$7,399,000are expenditures under contingencies warrants for the following;
· $2,000,000 was allocated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to cater for the Solomon Islands participation at the recent 5th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Papuan New Guinea.
· $5,399,000 to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology for Solomon Islands annual contribution to the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Secretariat and additional funding towards emergency operational costs for the April Flash Floods.
In terms of Expenditures under Advance Warrants a total of $88,840,812 were spent under advance warrants for recurrent and development expenditures funded by various donors as follows.
· $4,000,000 Budget Support provided by Papua New Guinea through the Consolidated Fund to support RSIPF and CCSSI to provide assistance towards the April Flash Flood Disaster
· $638,271 Budget Support provided by Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through Accountable Cash Grants to implement SPC/US AID Project: Land and Vegetation Cover and Improving Food Security for Building Resilience to a Changing Climate in SI Communities.
· $6,000,000 Budget Support provided by Papua New Guinea to rehabilitate schools affected by the April 2014 floods.
· $1,532,741 Budget Support provided by World Bank through Accountable Cash Grants to establish the Secretariat Office of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and its activities.
· $11,409,420 Budget Support provided by World Health Organization, Secretariat of Pacific Community, Fiji School of Medicine, Fred Hollows Foundation, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine through Accountable Cash Grant on disaster management, tobacco control, HIV/STI, immunization, specialist clinical services, and distribution of Azithromycin
· $5,550,00 Budget Support through Accountable Cash Grant by the Australia Federal Police for work on the RSIPF Forensic Facility Project
· $7,870,000 Budget Support provided by Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Republic of China (ROC) through the Accountable Cash Grant for NDMO to support emergency relief and repatriation efforts.
· $16,963,935 provided by Australia, New Zealand and World Bank through the Accountable Cash Grant for the Transport Management System, Revenue Management System, Household Income and Expenditure Survey, and ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) project.
· $3,876,445 provided by WTO for the Solomon Islands Tourism Inclusive Development Project.
· $31,000,000 provided by PNG for the shipping grant initiative program and payment of arrears for the reconstruction of Munda Airport.
Additional Supplementary Expenditures as estimated to a total of $8.19 million for the following:
· $4,000,000 to be allocated to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development for the Doma USP Campus to clear the site.
· $8,659,825 for capital injection to Solomon Airlines for purchase of a twin otter aircraft and additional funding to cater for the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) project in 2014.
· $1,000,000, to be allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the re-opening of the Geneva Mission.
· $877,135, foradditional funding to the National Parliament for the maintenance of generator and pluming works at the PT Complex.
· $4,320,000, to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for water, Constitutional Reform Program, overseas subscription, and remuneration of the new Commissioner of Police
· $13,449,800,additional funds for Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) flood assistance and Corrections evacuation of prisoners during flash floods, and logistical support for the National General Election.
· $1,634,516,additional funding to meet ongoing and new apprenticeship program student allowances mandated by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration
· $4,000,000, additional funding to cater for maintaining Henderson International airport and provincial airports.
· $7,000,000, for public servants retirees that are eligible for Long and Dedicated Service Benefit (LDSB).
· $258,476, additional funding to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs for house rentals to cater for new terms and conditions of magistrates
· $35,000,000, to be allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs for additional funding for the National General Election in 2014.
The Bill also seeks to legalise the following new budget support development expenditures:
· An additional funding of $10,000,000, provided by Papua New Guinea through the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services to support the police infrastructure in Lofang and Babanakira and,
· $1,400,000, provided by Papua New Guinea to through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to support the expansion of the Community Fisheries Livelihood program.
Finally, this Bill also seeks to provide additional budget support funding of $530, 000, to meet the salaries of six additional staff joining the Ministry of Fisheries and to fund over time needed to complete tasks due to staff shortage.
This funding is fully offset by a re-appropriation.
Mr Hou said Parliament appreciating this 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill (NO. 2) 2014 is to regularise expenditures which had been incurred by the Government through Contingencies and Advance Warrants.
It also seeks additional funding to fund election and flood-related expenditures among other important commitments for the service of the Government and the people of Solomon Islands.
Inquiries into this Bill by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will begin today, also at the National Parliament House.
The Bill is currently in the second reading before the House and Parliament is adjourned until 9:30am on Friday 29th of September 2014 to give time for the PAC to conduct its inquiries into this Bill.
– Parliament Media