The new Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) Act 2023 passed by Parliament last month (22 December) come into full force today, 5th January 2024.
This was after the Governor General of Solomon Islands Sir David Vunagi assented it and signed by Minister for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Hon. Duddley Kopu on 30th December 2023.
A Gazette legal notice declaring the CDF Act 2023 coming 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.
With new strict measures in the new legislation, there is confidence of a much-improved delivery of services under the CDF program starting this year and onwards.
The passing of the CDF Bill 2023 into an Act by Parliament and its gazetting into a law was a landmark achievement for our country, Solomon Islands in terms of strengthening the governance of one of the much-criticized public funds in the history of our independent state and also answered the cries of many Solomon Islanders who wishes to see continuation of the CDF Program under an improved management and good governance practices.
The new law will cater for the administration and regulation of CDF, specifically to strengthen good governance; ensure improved and effective delivery mechanisms of CDF and promote equal and inclusive participation of all Solomon Islanders in development.
This was a historical achievement for the then Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) through the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) which commenced the CDF reform work in August last year (2022) through a nationwide series of stakeholder consultations, spanning the national, provincial, and rural/community levels to gather invaluable insights for the formulation of the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy 2023-2032, review of the CDF Act 2013 and the drafting of instructions for the CDF Act 2023.
Unlike the CDF Act 2013, the new CDF Act 2023 recognized partnership and also provides for heavy penalties.
The new law, amongst other things, confine Members of Parliament to their role as lawmakers, while providing an oversight to the implementation of the CDF program.
Under the CDF Act 2023, most of the responsibilities in the implementation of the CDF program has been delegated to public servants, constituency committees and the people.
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.
Some major changes expected under the CDF Act 2023 are;
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of MRD Dr Samson Viulu said, “with the CDF Act 2023 coming into force, the ministry gave credit to the strong leadership of the Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and Minister for Rural Development Hon. Duddley Kopu for skilfully crafting the successful passage of the Act.
“The CDF Act 2023 is dedicated to the rural people of Solomon Islands who have contributed a lot through the various consultations with assurance that most of the contents of the new Act were inputs from the people in the rural areas.
“The Ministry is also grateful to all the former fifty Members of Parliament for their varying degree of support toward the Enactment of the CDF Act 2023 through Parliament and for listening to the cries of the rural people of Solomon Islands,” PS Viulu said.
The elated PS, Viulu also conveyed a special thank you to UNDP Solomon Islands Office, for the funding support toward the CDF reform that culminated in the CDF Act 2023.
Also read related articles via links provided below in relation to the various consultation led by MRD since August 2022 on the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy which set the basis for the formulation of the new Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) Bill 2023, now CDF Act 2023.
– MRD Press