The much-anticipated new Constituency Development Funds Bill 2023 is expected to be tabled when parliament resumes next week.
This was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Dr Samson Viulu.
He said the CDF Bill 2023 is expected to form part of the Business Order once Parliament reconvenes on Monday 13th October 2023.
PS Viulu further confirmed the submission of the new CDF bill to Parliament last week after the Honourable Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare who is the Supervising Minister for MRD signed off a notice of presentation to Parliament on Tuesday 31st, October 2023.
PS Viulu said it is expected that once the Bill is enacted into law it shall come into force (commencement) on the 1st day of January 2024.
“There are new strict measures in the new CDF Act that will come into force when it commences with the hope of a much-improved delivery of services under the CDF program.
“It is a milestone achievement for our country in terms of strengthening the governance of one of the much-criticized public funds in the history of our independent state,” PS Viulu said.
Work on reforming CDF commenced in August last year by MRD with the formulation of the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy 2023-2032, and drafting of instructions for the CDF Bill 2023.
Government through Cabinet approved the policy (SICD) in March this year which set a bedrock for the ministry to carry out review work on the CDF legislation 2023.
With the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) firm commitment to see improvement and strengthening of the governance of CDF programme for the benefit of the people, DCGA through cabinet without a second thought approved the New Bill on 5th October 2023 for submission to Parliament for deliberation this month.
The CDF Bill and legislation once passed in Parliament will improve 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.
The new bill, amongst other things, will confine Members of Parliament to their role as lawmakers, while providing an oversight to the implementation of the CDF program.
Under the new CDF Bill 2023, most of the responsibilities in the implementation of the CDF program has been delegated to public servants, constituency committees and the people.
It is believed that these changes will further improve good governance including transparency and accountability on how the funds are used to assist and empower our rural folks.
PS Viulu further emphasized that this new bill once become an Act of Parliament will prevent any misconduct, misappropriation of funds and any activities that are not aligned to the Public Finance Management Act 2013 (PFMA).
“Our rural people also need to understand that all parties involved in the CDF programme under MRD will be held accountable.
“This new bill will be applied to our MPs, Government Officials, Suppliers and beneficiaries,” PS Viulu highlighted.
CDF is a programme of the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and is implemented by the 50 constituencies in the country through the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) purposely to improve the social and economic livelihoods of all Solomon Islanders.
Apart from the Solomon Islands Government, only the Government of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has supported the CDF Program since 2019 until last year.
MRD’s vision is to ensure all rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihood.
– MRD Press