Reforming the existing Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act is a top priority policy of the DCGA government says Minister for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Temotu Pele Honourable Duddley Kopu.
Minister Kopu was speaking at the opening of the one-day consultation on the proposed CDF Act 2023 organized for Members of Parliament at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara today.
The meeting followed number of consultations on the draft CDF legislation held with the country’s Accountability and Integrity Institutions and a good number of MPs in recent months.
The consultation is to obtain MPs invaluable inputs into the proposed draft CDF Act 2023 to form an informed legislation that captures and addresses most of the issues and challenges the country face not only on CDF but in development as a whole.
It also enables MRD officials to enlighten the MPs on the inefficiencies of the existing CDF Act 2013, major areas of amendment under the new Act, pros of the newly proposed Act and the need for a new CDF Act.
“My ministry has been working very hard since last year to ensure that, this priority policy is achieved.
“Your presence today is a testament to your strong commitment as elected leaders of the national Parliament of Solomon Islands, to better the lives of the people we represent from our respective constituencies by, making improvements to the CDF legislation.
“CDF as we all know is a national program under my ministry and we are the custodians of it.
“It has its own Act which was legislated back in 2013 with 15 very brief sections, insufficient to address many of the common issues and challenges we face as custodians of the program. Despite these challenges, CDF continues to be one of the very few funds that directly touches the lives of the disadvantaged people in our rural areas.
“It is a funding that works across multi-sectors, focusing not only in just one sector but, in ALL sectors.
“Needless to say, CDF provides support in many areas including education, health, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, commerce, tourism, infrastructures, and cultural activities such as repatriation of the deceased, social activities such as sports and church activities such as fundraising, youths and women rallies and many more.
“It is like a one stop solution fund if you like. It is accessible and efficient compared to other funding programs. No wonder most people in the rural areas always seek for assistance from a member of Parliament when in need.
“However, there needs to be improvement to the delivery of services under the CDF which can be achieved through this new legislation,” Minister Kopu said.
He said that work on the newly proposed Act in fact started off in 2019 but wasn’t pursued any further until last year in 2022 when MRD embarked on a nationwide consultation to produce the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development Policy.
“This policy, which was approved by Cabinet on the second of March this year, provided for the framework in reviewing the CDF Act 2013 that, culminated in the proposed draft CDF Act 2023, that is now before us today,” he said.
This is the final consultation MRD is conducting with Members of Parliament before the proposed draft goes through other legislative processes.
UNDP is funding the consultation program.
– MRD Press