The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) on 23 January 2024 begun its first provincial outreach programme to raise awareness and educate citizens on the new Constituency Development Funds (CDF) Act 2023 with Gizo/Kolombangara constituents at the Outback Living area adjacent to the Solomon Power Station compound, Gizo Island, Western Province.
Some constituents from other nearby constituencies and Islands in the Western Province like North and South Vella La Vella and Simbo/Ranongga also joined the very important educational awareness program.
Permanent Secretary of MRD Dr Samson Viulu who led the awareness team said that reaching out with the right information about the new Act will not only help our rural people and communities better understand their roles under the new law but will also help them to use it accordingly.
The new CDF Act 2023 was passed by Parliament on 22 December 2023 and came into full force on 5 January 2024 after the Governor General Sir David Vunagi assented it and signed by the then MRD Minister Hon. Duddley Kopu on 30th December 2023.
A Gazette legal notice declaring the CDF Act 2023 came into force was already published on 30th December 2023 by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC). It replaced the CDF Act 2013.
PS Viulu further said by reaching out and sharing right information to our rural people who are mostly the beneficiaries of this law will help them understand it.
The purposes of the new CDF Act 2023 are; to strengthen good governance; to ensure improved and effective delivery mechanisms of the Constituency Development Funds; and to promote equal and inclusive participation of all Solomon Islanders in development.
Setting the scene for the awareness, MRD Rural Development Division (RDD) Director Milfred Delemani presented to the attendees the CDF practices under the old CDF Act 2013, its pros and cons, challenges and the way forward for improvement through the new CDF Act 2023.
The awareness was a great success. A very informative and also an emotive one as constituents including community leaders, chiefs, church leaders and elders, women leaders and those in attendance explicitly expressed themselves through commentaries in acknowledging the then DCGA government for passing the new Act.
They also expressed profound gratitude to DCGA through MRD team under the guidance of PS Dr Viulu for their priceless and diligent efforts and everyone who contributed to the success of the new Act for the bravery and commitment towards the formulation of the Act from consultation right up to its passing in Parliament despite the ultimatums and challenges faced through the course.
Walking constituents through the new Act was PS Viulu who delivered a mesmerizing presentation on the main sections in the new Act which include governance, appointment of constituency officers, misconduct in office, Inclusivity, constituency development plan, signatories to constituency bank accounts, constituency assets and reporting, offences and penalties and how the law will be functional as stipulated in the new CDF Act 2023.
The awareness cleared many doubts and questions constituents have for the CDF program with some described the new CDF Act 2023 as Medicine to heal the many wounds that left by the past CDF practices.
Some commented that the new Act is the hope for the country as Rural Development and decentralization of government services in the rural areas is concerned through the establishment of Constituency Development Growth Centres (CDGC) as provided for in the new Act.
Meanwhile, Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) for Ward 11 Gizo, Hon. Tapuia Eribati thanked MRD team for the important awareness.
He said such awareness is very important as it educate our people on the new Act, offer right information about CDF and how it is managed over the past years and how it will be operated under the new Act going forward.
Hon. Eribati further acknowledged the then DCGA government, stakeholders, individuals and everyone who supported MRD through the course of the development of the CDF Act which is now being enforced.
PS Viulu also thanked everyone who turned up for the awareness adding MRD as the ministry responsible for rural development will continue to work diligently with constituencies and communities across the country to guarantee government services reach our rural areas and accessible to our rural dwellers.
At the same time, he said while the ministry (MRD) recognizes the fact that the CDF Act 2023 will not solve many of the underlying development challenges that our country faces, the new law provides a platform for the proper governance of the CDF program as a potential tool among many, to roll out development in the rural communities.
The PS also recognized UNDP for its continuous support to the reforms that MRD is undertaking and for funding the awareness program.
More than 400 people excluding children attended the awareness program.
MRD awareness team to Gizo consist of PS Viulu, Director RDD Mr. Milfred Delemani and Director Communication & Public Relations Mr. Stephen Diisango.
MRD will conduct similar awareness talks in other constituencies and communities across the country in the coming weeks and months.
Should people or anyone want to have special awareness session on the new CDF Act 2023 organized for their communities you are encourage to consult the ministry. MRD can be reached on these contacts; Phone: 25238/25239 Email: email@example.com
– MRD Press