It’s a scheme gov’t used to keep its MPs together
By ANDREW FANASIA
THE National Transport Initiative Grant (NTIG) is a funding scheme set up to keep government MPs from crossing the floor, a former senior officer within the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) says.
According to the officer, the funding, which was administered by MID was actually part of development budget.
“Interestingly it was administered by the three people who include the Minister for MID, Minister for Ministry of Development, Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) and the Minister for Finance and Treasury,” the senior officer said.
The officer added that these three ministers decide on the beneficiaries.
He added that the Permanent Secretary for MID has no say or control over the fund, although the PS was the accountable officer in the ministry.
“So there can be room for conflict of interest and nepotism by the way this fund is administered although the grant has a policy governing it,” the former officer told the Solomon Star.
He revealed that the downfall of the Manasseh Sogavare-led SIDG government in 2017 was linked to the allocation of NTIG under his then minister Jimmy Lusibaea.
Mr Lusibaea and the Minister for Finance and Treasury at that time Snyder Rini were believed to have allocated shipping and machineries fund to the MPs in the Opposition side.
“So which government come into power will somehow use NTIG to hold their members together by allocating themselves with this huge amount of money from the government purse in the name of development,” the senior officer added.
He said NTIG has two categories – first one is for the MPs; the other for individuals and companies.
Whilst there were set of guidelines in place for applicants to be screened, the final decision lies with the three ministers, the office said.
Last year, the Government allocated $196.9 million of the development budget for the fund.
There was no allocation in next year’s budget to allow for a review of the funding.