PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday launched his government’s new policy on foreign aid and how to manage it.
Called Aid Management and Development Cooperation Policy, the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, in consultation with other stakeholders, produced the document.
Mr Sogavare said foreign aid to Solomon Islands is relative large and is a major source of funding for development.
“In 2015, the total aid reported was approximately $1.1 billion, funded by bilateral and multilateral development partners,” Mr Sogavare said.
“This made up approximately 68 per cent of the development expenditure in 2015,” he added.
But Mr Sogavare said out of this $1.1 billion, only 15 per cent is delivered through the government’s financial management system, while 54 per cent is off-budget or non-consolidated funds.
“With an aid ratio of between 45% – 60%, Solomon Islands is considered one of the most aid dependent nations in the world.
“Foreign aid is, therefore, likely to remain an enduring feature of the national economy.
“As such ensuring aid effectiveness by strengthening institutions and systems, and improving overall development effectiveness is imperative,” Mr Sogavare said.
He explained the objective of the Aid Policy is to bring tangible improvements in the utilisation of external and domestic resources and to ensure that external support towards development here is in line with national development priorities and objectives.
“By the same token, it is equally important that all development partners in Solomon Islands also work together and share the common objective of supporting an improvement in the quality of life for all Solomon Islanders, using all resources effectively and efficiently to achieve this objective.”
Mr Sogavare said the new aid policy will assert government’s leaders and its fundamental role in setting national priorities.
“It will also clarify the roles and responsibilities of central and line government agencies in the strategic management and coordination of external assistance,” he added.