Thursday, 13 September 2012 9:13 AM

Foreign Affairs Appears Before Public Accounts

The Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week went before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee requesting an additional $950,000 dollars.

This was supplementary for its office rental. The Ministry is currently paying $150,000 dollars in office rental per month for its office situated at the Melanesian Haus, next to the Iron Bottom Sound Hotel.

Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Joy Kere says the shortfall in the 2012 budget was due to the fact that the Ministry was to be relocated to its original space in the Prime Minister's office building.

However, Mrs Kere said the original Ministry of Foreign Affairs space in the Office of Prime Minister has already been occupied, and there is no other suitable office space available.

Therefore, she said they have now reviewed the tenancy agreement for another 12 months.

Permanent Secretary Kere said, the Ministry will have to secure a suitable office space when the 12 months is up because the current landlord is requesting that rental for the property be increased by another $30,000 a month.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is also requesting a further $1.8 million dollars for its commitment to the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Permanent Secretary, Mrs Kere said this is for a pledge to the MSG secretariat of $250,000 US dollars made by the government in 2009.

She said being an important member of MSG, the Solomon Islands government must immediately pay the commitment.