The Solomon Star front-page news item on April 3 that claimed the 2021 Budget does not match the Government’s policy redirection is incorrect and the reporter’s analysis was misleading.
In a statement today, the Government reminded the media and public that the 2021 Budget underpins the policy redirection and government priorities for 2021.
The Government believes that the changing socio-economic landscape and the unprecedented economic challenges due to Covid 19 demands the government to implement a measured approach to protect people from Covid 19 while at the same time sustain the domestic economy.
The objective of the government policy redirection are twofold and these are; to protect our people and country from Covid 19 and secondly to accelerate economic recovery and keep our national economy afloat in the short to medium term.
The 2021 budget appropriation therefore is set out to fulfil these two fundamental objectives of the policy redirection.
For this government, much has been accomplished in protecting our people and country from Covid 19, and this is on record. Yet this government is not going to rest on its achievements and as manifested in the policy redirection and translated in the 2021 budget, the ministries responsible for health and national security are set to receive sufficient budget support to achieve one of the fundamental objectives of the policy redirection to continue to protect our people from Covid 19.
In fulfilling the second objective of the policy redirection, the Government have placed highest priority on investments in the productive and resource sectors in anticipation that it will accelerate economic recovery and sustain our economy in the short to medium term. At the same time set a platform for long-term growth.
Despite the negative effect of Covid 19 on public finances, the productive and resources sector ministries will be receiving increased allocation in the 2021 development budget. This is a clear statement of seriousness of this government to accelerate economic growth as promoted in the policy redirection document.
The 2021 Budget have shown increases in the development budget for the ministries of agriculture, fisheries, tourism, commerce and infrastructure. Again, this is a prove that the 2021 budget appropriation is aligned to the government policy redirection.
Under the policy redirection, the Government would like to alter the past approaches by being more specific and focused while also maintaining strict oversight and monitoring on delivery and implementation of the 2021 policy priorities. This is to enable proper utilization of budget resources on specific areas according to government priorities that will bring tangible output on the ground compared to yesteryears where project implementations are measured by total funding expended.
Given the new normal brought by the global pandemic it is only prudent that the government streamline its limited resources in targeted areas in contrast to spreading our resources thinly over a very wide scope, which often bring very minimal to zero impact on the lives of our citizens, which has been the approach over past years.
“We must be reminded, that the policy redirection is aimed at dismantling the “business as usual”’ system of project or budget implementation that previously dominated the country in budget implementation. The government through the responsible ministries will enhance monitoring and ensure the budget is effectively utilized on tangible and high return investment, the statement said.
It is pointless that the Solomon Star news item erroneously labelled the Policy Redirection as Redirection Policy. The national government is responsible for the policy redirection but not the redirection policy, a terminology invented by the reporter. Public has all the right to question the reporter about the definition of a redirection policy.
“The policy redirection is not something that could be achieved in a year but several years therefore, its implementation will be done on incremental basis. Basic common sense requires that we make a start by focusing on fundamental priorities and progressively build from there,” the statement said.
As the reigning government, the DCGA is confident that funding allocations aligned with the policy focus of the 2021 budget and remained committed to implement the policy redirection priorities.