The government through the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) has recognised the government of Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and its tax payers for their ongoing and unwavering support towards government’s (SIG) rural development programs after both country’s established diplomatic relations in 2019.
Permanent Secretary Acting and Deputy Secretary Technical (DST), Hugo Hebala said, following the approval of Solomon Islands Government (SIG) to normalize diplomatic ties with PRC on 16th September, 2019, PRC continue to demonstrate robust commitment to the government by providing necessary funding assistance to SIG CDF programs in the 50 constituencies.
PRC’s Support for Constituency Development under the CDF Program came into effect in the 4th quarter of 2019 and focuses mainly on three components which include; community social infrastructures, Water Supply & Sanitation and income generating initiatives to improve rural livelihoods.
The funding support normally factored into the national government development budget and channeled through MRD for facilitation to constituencies towards their development programs to boost rural economic activities targeted at alleviating poverty and improving rural Solomon Islanders livelihood.
However, Mr. Hebala said, this year the usual PRC CDF funding assistance has been reduced to $SDB$20 million, a decrease from the SBD$90 million contribution made last year.
With the decrease, constituencies are expected to receive SBD$400,000.00 each.
Mr. Hebala revealed the cut in figure when MRD appeared virtually before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for the 2022 Appropriation Bill 2022 on Tuesday 5th April, 2022.
“Chair, this year the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) contribution towards the development budget is $20 million a decrease from $90 million contributions last year.
“PRC is currently in transition, meaning they will soon stop giving cash support to CDF and only support development through projects in the constituencies. According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between PRC and SIG, China has made it clear that there will be only development support through projects, not cash support for the CDF fund. The MOU also made it clear that with projects, they want to work directly with the provinces,” Mr Hebala said.
He said MRD through its Rural Development Division (RDD) will administer the funding assistance of SBD$20 million, provided by PRC under its funding agreement towards the Constituency Development Program in the Solomon Islands.
“All due processes are in place to ensure the money is released to the constituencies so that they can be able to implement their programs. All submission requirements by constituencies for the funding support remain the same as in 2021,” Mr. Hebala affirmed.
“MRD estimate 2022 Total Expenditure SIG Recurrent is $101,699,709.00 while its Development budget is $241 million.” The ministry’s budget as allocated under the CDF program will be implemented across the 50 constituencies and is envisioned to deliver four (4) key program outputs which are;
- Establish small businesses
- Develop local economies
- Create employment opportunities
- Construct basic infrastructures
Also, the budget will support respective constituencies in their program implementation aimed at enhancing livelihoods in our rural communities.
Mr. Hebala acknowledged PAC for scrutinising the SIG 2022 Budget and reaffirmed MRD’s commitment to deliver.
MRD is fully committed to seeing that all rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihoods.