Writing in today’s Solomon Star newspaper Alfred Sasako gives details of a new kind of funding proposal about to be considered in the West Georgia Constituency in the Western Province.
Mr. Sasako’s article read, and I quote.
The nation’s 172 wards could expect to get direct budgetary funding from the national government if an ‘experiment’ being trialed by the West New Georgia Constituency in Western Province proved successful, it was disclosed yesterday.
West New Georgia MP, Silas Tausinga, yesterday formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to set up Ward Development Committees (WDCs) in his Constituency.
The signing paves the way for establishing four WDCs in the Constituency. It also establishes the formal funding arrangement for the WDCs over the next two years.
Under the arrangement, WDCs in the West New Georgia Constituency would receive up to $3.2 million a year to be spent on Constituency projects at the ward level.
“These WDCs would be entirely responsible for choosing projects to be funded and how much to be spent on each project. It is a new idea to empower people at the Ward level to participate in our development,” Mr. Tausinga jnr said yesterday.
Under the current arrangement, each ward would be entitled to get $800, 000 as its annual budget.
The money is in a co-funding arrangement between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Solomon Islands government.
Each Ward Development Committee would be responsible for accounting for the use of the money.
The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening would be assisting by facilitating the arrangement.
Mr. Tausinga Jnr is expected to travel to his Constituency sometime next week to launch the scheme.
Asked what influence, if any he, as a Member of Parliament would have over the use of the money, Mr. Tausinga jnr said he would have none.
Officials who attended the MOU signing yesterday said it would be up to each MP to inform officials if they wanted to follow suit.
“We are here to facilitate,” they said.
“West New Georgia is the first Constituency which wants to try out the idea of directly funding Ward Development Committees so that they could do their work. It is a good idea and the MP should be supported in his endeavour,” they said.
End of quote.