Rennell and Bellona (Renbel) Province has showed overwhelming support for the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy intention as they expressed their desire for a robust mechanism to control the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
The overwhelming support was made known during the SICD Policy consultation facilitated by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) in Honiara for Renbel Province participants.
Representatives from the province who are part of the consultation comprised of Members of the Provincial Assembly, Chiefs, Community leaders, youths, and other professionals.
Three ice-breaking questions as introduced by the consultation Team Leader and Principal Project Planning Officer Mr. George Balairamo inspired the discussions.
These questions include;
During discussion in the early part of the consultation process, some participants expressed that the SICD Policy is a way forward for the required change to the current CDF Act 2013.
“We know that Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is necessary for rural development. But it is the accountability part of it that needs to be strengthened so that CDF can achieve its maximum purpose in the rural communities in the 50 constituencies,” one participant said.
Other representatives also shared the same sentiments expressing that CDF needs stringent regulations and a robust mechanism.
The Renbel Provincial Assembly Speaker Honourable Lester Hackle Saomasi also expressed that CDF is a catalyst for development in rural areas.
“There is hope in this new SICD Policy as we might anticipate some changes in the CDF structures and how the ministry and Government implement the funds in the rural areas.
“I believe CDF needs to be invested in our productive sector to help boost the economy in the rural areas and also the country’s economy at large.
“If we want to see more in-come generating activities and job opportunities available in our constituencies then it is time to propel this fund (invest) into the productive sector,” he added.
Senior Renbel MPA Honourable and Deputy Premier Lence Tango also made some very critical but constructive contributions during the consultation deliberation.
He expressed that Members of the Provincial Assemblies (MPAs) in the nine provinces should also be part of this CDF structure to address some of the development issues in the (our) constituencies.
MRD Deputy Secretary Corporate (DSC) Constance Wane thanked participants for their invaluable contributions and assured them that recommendations gathered from the consultation will really help MRD as it embarks on reforming constituency developments to guarantee rural people meaningfully participates in social and economic activities to improve their livelihoods.
Ms Wane also did a presentation on the Ministry’s Corporate Service overview and its Corporate Plan 2020-2023, Ministry’s mandate as well with its alignment to the National Development Strategy (NDS).
“MRD continues to collaborate with line ministries to advance the DCGA policies to advance development in our rural areas,” she said.
Rural Development Division (RDD) Director Milfred Delemani and MRD Financial Controller Timothy Paoka also did a presentation on the CDF implementations and its criteria opening the way for further discussion from the participants.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Rural Development Dr. Samson Viulu acknowledged the Renbel participants for their participation in the consultation process.
“Your invaluable and honest view will be taken into account and will be the basis and foundation of this new policy,” he said.
He also highlighted that the SICD Policy’s key goals are to support and provide a policy framework to review the 2013 CDF Act, and it will enhance and contribute towards empowering all Solomon Islanders to participate meaningfully in constituency development activities to improve their livelihoods.
“The new development policy will make more emphasis on the productive and resource sectors including essential services to address the issues and challenges faced daily by rural dwellers thereby activating an additional percentage of the productive population to contribute to the national revenue and consequently grow our local and national economy,” PS Viulu affirmed.
The SICD Policy shall focus on the following key thematic areas: socio-economic infrastructures, livelihoods income generating projects, essential services such as health, education and police- security, and downstream processing and value adding.
The consultation will end tomorrow (Friday 22 September, 2022).
– MRD Press