THE Guadalcanal Provincial Government (GPG) has settled its entire staff’s long due National Provident Fund (SINPF) surcharges and contributions last week.
According to a press release statement from the Guadalcanal media revealed that a total of more than SBD $3 million have been paid which was confirmed by the SINPF Enforcement Officer who deals with the Guadalcanal Provincial Government arrears via an email.
It stated this a a milestone achievement for the Government for Inclusive Change and Sustainable Development (GICSD) lead by Premier Francise Sade.
“In retrospect, these GPG arrears from SINPFs had dated back in 2016. Due to the surcharges the debt continued to be accumulated over the course of six years, not until the GICSD had improved the Financial and Treasury Division and settled the long outstanding debt last week.
“According to the GP Finance and Treasury Division, previous attempts to settle the debts were inconsistent due to lack of proper and strong compliances will for proper debt servicing within the division.”
The statement said in terms of the provincial debts in general, the GICSD had inherited almost more than SBD $20 million debts since 2019 to 2020 financial year.
“As a result, debt servicing made the biggest percentage of the three previous financial budgets (2019/2020, 2020/2021, and 2021/2022), in terms of the recurrent expenditures.
“To make matters worse, the negative economic impacts of Covid-19 on the national GDP growth, especially the projected 4.3 percent decline from last year, and the recent budget cut by 12.7 percent in the 2021/2022 financial year from the national government, are the major challenges facing the GICSD to declare the province debt free by 2023.
The statement said despite these economic challenges, Premier Francis Sade is determined that his current Executive will continue its debt-servicing strategy.
“We have to acknowledge that despite the inherited debts of more than 20 million dollars and the current negative impacts of Covid-19 on our economy, we still maintain our debt servicing strategy.
“It is a matter of continuation of strengthening our financial treasury division and maintaining a strong workforce to increase our local revenues in our productive sectors.
“Moreover, new (debt) claims submitted from individuals and businessmen dated back in the late 2000s had also recently emerged.
“However, some of these claims look dubious and the GP Legal and Policy units are in the process of ensuring their legitimacies.”
Furthermore to that, it was revealed that the GP’s biggest creditor is the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) an estimated of SBD$4 million owes by the province after it clears almost SBD $8 million debt from the previous provincial scholarship arrangements.
GICSD hopes it will improve its local revenue collections by the second quarter of this year 2021 and 2022 financial, and that is their strategy to achieve its debt servicing, the statement said.
“Based on previous appropriation ordinances (financial budgets), the GICSD is the first Executive to vigorously pursue debt servicing. Hence, the settlement of the GP’s NPF arrears is an obvious proof to that,” the statement said.
By FOLLET JOHN