PROVINCIAL premiers and the Deputy Mayor of Honiara City have strongly repeated their call on the National Government to allocate adequate resources to strengthen the revenue collection capacity of provincial governments.
The provincial leaders resounded the call on day two of the 9th Premier’s Conference currently underway in Auki, Malaita Province, following presentations by a number of premiers, Tuesday.
The presentations all highlighted the difficulties faced by the Provinces including the Honiara City Council due to the current weak institutional and legislative challenges faced by provincial governments.
“Millions of dollars have been lost as a result of weak regulatory and enforcement mechanisms in the Provinces,” said Western Province’s Deputy Premier Malloney Lopoto.
Similarly, Malaita Premier Peter Ramohia said there is a huge gap between the National Government and the Provincial Government’ s in terms of resourcing and capacity to address the issue of revenue collection.
“We need the support of the National Government to redirect our approach towards service delivery and generating our revenue base to sustain our duties to our people,” Mr Ramohia said.
He added that the provinces need to be rescued from this vicious cycle to become effective agents of the National Government to deliver service to people.
Choiseul Premier Jackson Kiloe echoed similar sentiments saying Provincial Government’s can only become effective if they generate their own revenue to compliment fixed grants from the National Government.
“We are continuously suppressed in terms of financial support to become effective government agents over the years and this has become very frustrating to our people,” he said.
Temotu Premier David Maina said the geographic isolation of his Province coupled with inadequate support from the National Government is making service delivery a real problem.
He said the National Government must support provinces to strengthen its ordinances to penalize scrupulous investors that tried to steal resources from Provinces.
Deputy Honiara City Mayor Charles Awosuga said the Honiara City Council is in a better position ahead of the Provincial Government’s in terms of business activities but it is facing similar challenges in terms of revenue collection.
The 9th Premiers Conference under the theme “Resourcing Infrastructure for Vibrant Economic Development” gathers the leaders to discuss with the National Government and other stakeholders how Provincial Governments may continue to play a leading role in providing solid infrastructure on which strategies for rural economic development may be anchored.
Discussions this week will culminate into a communiqué which will be presented to the National Government for consideration and further auctioning.
The conference will end on Friday.
– Source: Govt Communications Unit