THE Government has been urged to start implementing the 2020 budget priorities.
Leader of the Independent Group Robertson Galokale made the call on Tuesday.
“The Government must shift-away from the usual practice of dragging its feet on budget implementation and immediately start implementing the 2020 Budget priorities, particularly allocations for preparation towards hosting the 2023 Pacific Games,” Galokale said in a statement.
His call came amidst growing public concerns that the country may not be able to meet all of its requirements in time for staging the games.
Galokale said he acknowledges that there already has been some set-backs in games funding that has impacted the preparatory timeframe due to the recent shift in the government’s foreign policy.
“But the government must fulfil its 2020 commitment of $65 million allocated under the Office of the Prime Minister for games preparation including finalization of PRC’s commitment to fund more than 50 per cent of all the infrastructure facilities needed for the Games,” he added.
The National Hosting Authority upon signing of the exchange of minutes relating to the 2023 Games with the PRC government last year stated that China could potentially fund up to 70 per cent of games infrastructure if their government agrees to.
However, Galokale said none of those commitments were reflected in the approved 2020 National Budget, raising the question of “when do we start?”
“There is going to be considerable amount of development work to be carried out in terms of preparing sporting facilities as almost 80 per cent of the required infrastructure is to be built from the ground upwards so time is of essence if we were to stage the games with top-class, if not world-class facilities.”
Galokale also urges the government to deliver the Solomon Islands National Sports Leadership Institute by October this year as promised during its groundbreaking ceremony in December 2019.
“The institute will be responsible for preparing our athletes in various sports for 2023.
“This is very important so as to meet the country’s athlete performance expectations in the games,” the Independent leader stated.
Galokale further commented that Honiara will bear the brunt of hosting the games therefore the city must be well prepared to host large numbers of internal and external visitors over the course of the event.
“There has to be adequate accommodation provided in the city for international athletes as well as local visitors who will grace the city at the event.
“This calls for greater cooperation between all stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength in working towards a successful delivery of the 2023 Pacific Games.”
The Independent Leader therefore urges the government to strengthen its resolve and commitment towards hosting this historic event.
“It calls for Government to ‘be the change’ by seeking to compel better ways of doing business.”
Galokale concluded that in the light of recent developments, the process and work on preparing for this major event could auger well for sports development and national unity; important components of nation building.
“So is the Government serious in this approach?
“Is the Government committed to a coordinated approach in delivering the games on time or are we still in an ad hoc mode?”