Thursday, 18 October 2007 1:12 PM

Cleaning Up Provincial Finances

A project to help provincial governments better manage their accounts has been completed in three provinces and is now underway in Makira and Western provincial governments.

The RAMSI-funded project was initiated by the Ministry of Provincial Government and draws local staff from the Ministry, Office of the Auditor General and experts in accounting and financial management.

The project is working to ensure that provincial government has the skills to manage its finances in a clear and transparent manner.

In welcoming the team to Gizo, the Premier of Western Provincial Government, Honourable Alex Lokopio, said that he appreciated the support being offered to provincial governments to improve their financial management.

"This financial management support is long overdue. It will provide the skills to our treasury staff to produce financial reports and assist us improve our public accountability," Mr Lokopio said.

The premier said that he hoped that the project would also introduce standard accounting systems across all provinces so that staff transfers between administrations will no longer create delays.

"In the past, different accounting systems in each province had caused delays due to new staff members needing to become familiar with each province's accounting and reporting procedures," Mr Lokopio said.

The project also has a strong capacity development approach to build the capacity of the provincial governments to carry out this important function in the future.
RAMSI's Development Coordinator, Stuart Schaefer, said that assisting provincial government to get all accounts up to date and properly managed is an essential step for attracting funding in the future.

"Financial accountability is essential for provincial governments wishing to be eligible for development funding under the proposed Provincial Governance Strengthening Program currently being finalised by the Solomon Islands Government with donors," said Schaefer.