The issue was raised by the Leader of the Opposition and a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Mathew Wale last week.
The Permanent Secretary for MoFT was asked by Wale to provide data for how many jobs were lost in the economy due to COVID-19.
“Unfortunately um... um... I don’t um... we asked for some data the...our team still works with the National Provident Fund and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.
“At the moment I do not have that information to present it but that’s very important Chairman,” the PS responded.
Wale told the PS and his team who appeared before the PAC that it is important but every year you don’t come with it.
“So I don’t know how important it is to you PS.
“It just seems that you have no capability within the functions in your ministry (MoFT) to track jobs,” he added.
Wale told the PS that MoFT should mainstream it because this is the reason why we doing everything we doing and it is to create jobs.
“There must be a function dedicate to this very important matter,” he said.
He further questioned PS to also clarify the deficiency of their data if it also caters for the job created since the government roll out the Economic Stimulus Package.
Again the PS said they don’t have the right information with them when they appeared before PAC but the policy emphasised during the COVID-19 crisis last year is to stabilise and ensure that there is no more unemployment or layoffs of workers.
As much as possible the Ministry of Public Service continued to be employed.
It was also understood that most of the public servants were recalled to work after the height of the COVID-19 crisis which the government paid them in full.
The PS also told PAC that the government injects millions into the Soltuna Company which resulted in their workers remaining in their jobs.
He further added that the injection of ESP into the cocoa industry and Kava also help to create minimal jobs in the rural areas.
But Wale said while he agreed with PS’s explanation that crisis creates opportunity but his point is the ministry needs to track jobs even if the argument was stabilising jobs during the crisis.
“We should know how many jobs we save it, protect it, and also the market behaviour has changed during the crisis so this is important,” Wale said.
It was understood that PAC inquiry into the 2021 Appropriation Bill 2021 continues after the parliament adjourned on Monday.
By ANDREW FANASIA