Friday, 11 January 2008 2:54 PM

New Agriculture Minister Suspends Projects

The newly appointed Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture, Selwyn Riumana, has suspended every agriculture project.

This is according to Under Secretary for the Ministry, Alfred Maesulia, who told Solomon Times that the suspension was imposed by the newly elected Dr. Derek Sikua-led government.

Mr. Maesulia revealed that the reason to suspending all the projects, especially for cocoa and coconut, is because applications are all messed up.

He said that some applications approved have not been collected, and the process is a complete mix-up.

The projects, worth some SBD$3 million, focus on the five main provinces.

It was revealed that with the suspension on the projects being carried forward, the Minister and his ministry will be making queries into the matter.

Mr. Maesulia told Solomon Times that despite payments being made to a lot of the applicants, there's complaint that funds to start on their project were never received.

It was revealed that suspension will lift following internal auditing carried out by the Ministry of Finance, which will take 2-6 months time to complete.

"It is a coincidence the projects are being suspended as auditing is being carried out by the Ministry of Finance just as our new government is settling in," Mr. Maesulia said.

The Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Selwyn Riumana, could not be reached for comment on the matter.