Top government officials from the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) have paid a courtesy visit to the Premier of Central Islands Province (CIP) Honourable Polycarp Galaigu at his office in Tulagi today (Friday 23 June 2023).
The meeting was a success as both sides conversed on their government ministries distinct approaches and mechanisms to deliver basic services to rural people.
Deputy Secretary Corporate (DCS) Constance Wane who led the team for the courtesy visit on behalf of the Permanent Secretary informed Premier Galaigu that the MRD team is on a retreat in Tulagi to finalize the CDF Legislative Reform Drafting Instructions (DI) 2023 that is due this month for submission to the Attorney General’s Chamber.
She also conveyed greetings from the office of the Minister of MRD Hon. Duddley Kopu to the Premier and his executive.
Ms Wane also informed Premier Galaigu about the progress on the CDF review that the ministry is undertaking.
She said the review work is necessary to strengthen the governance of CDF.
“Review work is approaching the end and we are optimistic to submit the drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chamber after our retreat before the draft CDF legislation goes through other legislative processes. MRD expect the bill to reach Parliament by September this year,” the Deputy Secretary told Premier Galaigu in the presence of his Provincial Speaker, Francis Moah and Provincial Treasurer Gabriel Agutuzepo.
At the same time, MRD Director of Governance Hickson George said the retreat to finalize the drafting instructions is part of the mandatory reforms that the ministry is undertaking to improve the CDF governance and its delivery mechanisms.
He told the Premier that work on reforming CDF has commenced in August last year with the formulation of the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy adding the drafting of instructions is part of the process.
“Cabinet has approved the policy (SICD) in March this year and that sets a bedrock for our review work on the CDF legislation 2023.
“This is a long overdue issue and our people have been waiting and keen to see changes and improvement to the management and governance of CDF.
“CDF is not new and not bad. CDF is a good thing since it is easy to access by rural people, reaches remote rural areas and touches rural lives in many ways. But the management and governance part of it is an issue, and so the review work to improve it.
“We try our best to capture views and complains from our stakeholders, integrity organisations and the rural folks during our previous consultations and that have helped us a lot towards the review work for a way forward in the management of the fund (CDF).
“We need to make these changes for the benefit of our children and our future generation,” Mr Hickson said.
Meanwhile, Premier Galaigu in response acknowledged DSC Wane and her team for the courtesy visit where they were able to share together thoughts on a way forward for CDF.
He welcomed the MRD team to Central Province and said that on behalf of his provincial government he is pleased with the current work and the reforms that the ministry is executing.
“Obviously there will be challenges that you are expecting but I encourage you to continue with the good work for the betterment of our nation and rural people.
“I support the reforms that your ministry is undertaking to make these changes come true not only for our leaders but for the rural population of this country,” Premier Galaigu said.
The new CDF Act and legislation once passed in Parliament will improves the CDF delivery mechanisms as well as pave the way for more positive changes in our rural communities to ensure all rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihood.
UNDP is funding the retreat and the CDF reform work.
– MRD Press