The Malaita Provincial Government has been advised to make sound decisions and develop strategic actions that can bring back financial recovery and development for the province and its people following its disqualification from the Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) since 2010.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) led by Permanent Secretary Stanley Dick Pirione made the advice during a meeting with the new Malaita Provincial Executive last Thursday in Auki.
The new Provincial Executive was also urged to work with the National Government in the implementation of the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government’s development projects.
At the meeting, the new executive was informed on the “real situational status” currently impinging on the delivery of services to the people of the province.
In his presentation, Permanent Secretary Pirione highlighted the existing problems which caused the exclusion of the province from the Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF).
The province in recent years has faced difficult situations including problems on mismanagement and diversion of public funds, lack of proper planning and sound policy implementation, lack of financial discipline, unnecessary advances and borrowings, little record keeping and confusions over the roles and functions between the provincial assembly, executive and the administration.
In recent years, there was also not enough focus and concentration on the financial status of the province, which disqualified the province from the Provincial Capacity Development fund since 2010/11.
The Malaita Provincial Government missed out more than $20 Million of PCDF money in recent years. This is the money that should be used for small scale development infrastructure projects in education, health, commerce and, community development for the Province.
Along with the problems faced by the province, the ministry suggested a “way forward” for the Provincial Government to bring back normalcy on the financial status of the province.
“What the province urgently need now is to seriously address pressing issues that would help facilitate coordination and alignment of bigger National projects in the longer term. What is important now is to encourage the Provincial Government to practice financial discipline on its financial affairs,” Mr Pirione said.
The MPGIS calls on the Province to re-direct its focus and concentrate more on stringent financial measures such as imprest control and proper cash management practices, proper debt management, and revenue collection strategies, proper record keeping and clean audits.
Among other pressing issues, the Province was also advised to ensure proper expenditure management initiatives including planning and realistic budgeting.
Premier Peter Channel Ramohia thanked the MPGIS team for the visit which now sets up the baseline for the province to launch its strategic directions and work programs.
“Our immediate priority now is to ensure we qualify back into the PCDF funding mechanism to make sure we also benefit from this performance based grant,” Premier Ramohia said.
The Premier assured that the Province is serious and will work with all stakeholders for benefit of the people of Malaita and Solomon Islands.
The Malaita Provincial Government is also close to finalizing its policy statement as it captured the policy intentions of the DCC Government and the pressing issues shared by the Ministry of Provincial Government and communities within the province.
“We hope that once we align out efforts with the National government through its policies and support for Malaita, we will surely bring back confidence and trust to our good people within Solomon Islands,” Premier Ramohia added.
The MPGIS team hopes to visit Guadalcanal Province and Renbel to discuss respective issues facing these provinces. These three Provinces were disqualified from the PCDF and the National Government would like to ensure that they prepare for the next round of assessment for 2016 and beyond.