MEMBERS of the Guadalcanal public are querying their Provincial Government on the recent purchases of two new vehicles.
There are negatives and positives comments on the Guadalcanal forum Facebook page over the purchase of the two vehicles.
Those with negative comments accused the Province of “its poor administration and its outstanding debt.”
One commentator said the province has a long-overdue debt in student fees with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU). This, he said, should be considered first.
He further questioned the strength of the provincial government and how it could quickly settle its dues.
“The Guadalcanal Provincial Government should have a time frame in place on how to settle its dues to avoid passing the buck to the next government,” he said.
Guadalcanal Provincial Premier Francis Sade has rebutted the comments, saying the Province is undergoing reform.
“Part of the reform is to strengthen its administration and financial department,” he said.
“To achieve some of the major reform objectives, improving revenue collection and management is important, thus the vehicles should support the finance and administration team in their work,” he said.
Premier Sade said while Guadalcanal province is pushing to achieve its reform objectives, debt servicing is a big challenge.
“Guadalcanal Province has more than $25 million debt when the new executive came in, and this is a big challenge. As we speak we have reduced the debt burden to just $10.2 million, which is an impressive achievement in a short time,” Premier Sade said.
He said all the outstanding debts are being repaid.
“These include NPF staff contributions with surcharges, PAYE with surcharges (these two alone were worth SB$10 million-plus accrued).
“The SINU outstanding account stands at S$7.3 million, and Diamond cooperation is $6 million which was ordered by High Court, and countless others with smaller amounts which makes up the total.”
Premier Sade said the two biggest ones now are the PAYE with SB$3.4m and SINU SB$3.2m NPF principles were paid off except surcharge of SB$145, 000 appearing every month because of late payments.
He said the Province is assessing other claims as they came in. “Once we’ve finalized and approved them we will include them in our debt servicing account,” he said.
By FOLLET JOHN