PARLIAMENT has passed the Provincial Government (Amendment) Bill 2014 on Tuesday 19th August 2014.
This Bill amended the Provincial Government Act 1997 in order to permit holding of elections on a date other than the fourth anniversary of the previous election when certain circumstances make such action necessary in the public interest.
After deliberations by some members of Parliament the bill went through the Committee stage without amendments and finally passed in third reading.
Members of Parliament who have contributed during the debate have shown their support to the Bill; however, have raised other issues one of which is to strengthen the Provincial system maladministration and misappropriation.
This was also one of the recommendations made by the Bills and Legislation Committee in their report.
Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga who was the only Government MP to speak also supported this piece of recommendation.
“We should consider administration of each provinces and how they appropriate their funds,” he said.
However, when winding up the debate on this Bill, the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening Silas Tausinga welcomed the comments and issues raised and said that the issues are of fundamental importance and require broad and substantial changes to the provincial government act.
“If it’s done it should be part of a broader governments view to commend the BLC for their recommendations on the report,” he said.
Mr Tausinga further explained that the intention of the Bill is for the proper management of Elections programs in the provinces.
He said the outcome of the bill will surely:
1. resolve practical problems that are often arises during elections
2. help ministry of provincial government to align provincial elections where it sees fit to save cost.
3. resolve any uncertainties which regards to timing of the biometric register and biometric voters list
4. Provide greater legal certainty in the potential abuse of other sections of provincial government act of 1997
5. save money and unnecessary costs
Mr Tausinga explained that his ministry, through certain reform programs that are currently underway with the ministry responsible for National elections through the electoral commissions,is planning to undertake a major reform in the country’s electoral process.
He told Parliament that the Amendment to provincial government act will surely promote transparency and accountability through proper planning, proper consultation and proper management in ensuring that democratic rights of our citizens are exercised through an election process that is free, fair and that accommodates all the development aspirations of Solomon Islanders.
“Now that the Bill is passed it will surely cemented a great legacy for the honorable house and will surely inflict trust and confidence to our people on the parliament’s recognition of exercising their rights and to install a political leader of their choice,” Minister Tausinga said.
The Provincial Government (Amendment) Bill 2014 is the first Bill to be passed in this current seventh and final meeting of the Ninth Parliament.
– Parliament Media