The government, through the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its taxpayers for their continued and unwavering support of the government’s rural development programs (GIS) after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2019.
Acting Permanent Secretary and Deputy Technical Secretary (DST) Hugo Hebala said following the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) approval to normalize diplomatic relations with the PRC on 16and September 2019, PRC continues to demonstrate strong commitment to the government by providing the necessary financial assistance to SIG CDF programs in all 50 constituencies.
CRP support for constituency development under the CDF program came into effect on 4and quarter of 2019 and mainly focuses on three components which include; community social infrastructure, water supply and sanitation and income-generating initiatives to improve rural livelihoods.
Financial support is normally factored into the national government’s development budget and channeled through the MRD to facilitate constituencies towards their development programs to stimulate rural economic activities aimed at reducing poverty and improving livelihoods. livelihoods of rural people in the Solomon Islands.
However, Hebala said, this year the usual financial assistance from the PRC CDF has been reduced to SBD 20 million, a decrease from the SBD 90 million contribution given last year.
With the decrease, constituencies should receive SBD 400,000.00 each.
Mr Hebala revealed the reduction in the figure when the MRD appeared virtually before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for the Finance Bill 2022 on Tuesday 5and April 2022.
“Mr. President, this year, the contribution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the development budget is 20 million dollars, a decrease from 90 million dollars last year.
“The PRC is currently in transition, which means it will soon stop giving cash support to the CDF and will only support development through projects in constituencies. According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the PRC and SIG, China has made it clear that there will only be development support through projects, not cash support for the CDF fund. . The MOU also specified that with the projects, they want to work directly with the provinces,” said Mr. Hebala.
He said the MRD, through its Rural Development Division (RDD), will administer the financial assistance of SBD$20 million, provided by the PRC under its Development Program Funding Agreement. constituencies in the Solomon Islands.
“All formal processes are in place to ensure that money is disbursed to constituencies so they can implement their programs. All submission requirements by constituencies for financial support remain the same as in 2021,” said said Mr. Hebala.
“The MRD estimates that GIS’s total recurrent expenditures for 2022 are $101,699,709.00, while its development budget is $241 million.” The Ministry’s budget as allocated under the CDF program will be implemented in all 50 constituencies and is expected to deliver four (4) key program outputs, namely;
- Create small businesses
- Develop local economies
- Create job opportunities
- Build basic infrastructure
In addition, the budget will support the respective constituencies in implementing their agenda to improve livelihoods in our rural communities.
Mr. Hebala thanked PAC for reviewing the SIG 2022 budget and reaffirmed MRD’s commitment to delivering on its promises.
MRD is fully committed to ensuring that all rural Solomons participate meaningfully in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihoods.