The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is taking “good governance” very seriously as it embarks on steps to strengthening the governance of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) implementation and administration with the formulation of the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy.
Minister for MRD Honourable Duddley Kopu told Parliament in his contribution to the Sine Die motion, December 2022.
He said that as a responsible ministry under the ruling government (DCGA), his ministry is not taking good governance casually but very seriously by establishing the new policy reform that will pave the way for regulating the CDF Act 2013.
Minister Kopu said that while it has become necessary for the existence of the CDF to continue, it is high time that government through MRD must strengthen the governance of the CDF implementation and administration by improving its accountability and transparency according to international standards.
“…we are also mindful that strengthening the governance of the CDF MUST NOT remove nor stifle the pros and efficiency of the CDF through which it is implemented,” he said.
Despite the many negativities against CDF, Minister Kopu said that CDF is one of the many funding supports that many of our most vulnerable and isolated communities benefited heavily on, as a direct funding assistance to their priority needs.
These priority needs include;
• Decent housing,
• Health and clinics,
• Water supply and water tanks,
• Fisheries and transportation,
• Access to essential services such as police and security,
• Basic and small infrastructures,
• School fee assistance,
• Income generating activities and livelihood projects
• Repatriation of deaths to provinces, which is a very expensive exercise.
“These are but some of the many assistances that the CDF provide to the people of this country, which may not be possible if channeled through the normal bureaucratic process if appropriated through ministries other than CDF,” the minister said.
He further stated that under the new policy, MRD will strengthen its “Compliance measures” which include the necessary submissions of acquittals and implementation reports of CDF from the previous year, before CDF funding for the current fiscal year will be accessed by respective constituencies.
He added that Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is a priority in the new policy where officials from his ministry and other key stakeholders will actively visit all constituencies for monitoring of CDF projects so that Members of Parliament (MPs) can account for the public funds entrusted through them.
“Mr Speaker Sir, as part of the good governance approach taken by the Ministry of Rural Development, it has actively published the work of the constituencies under the CDF program and am sure, you have read many good stories about the CDF.
“I am also happy to inform you that Solomon Islands as one of the few countries that adopt CDF in the pacific region, has an advanced legislative framework and implementation mechanisms, compared to our sister countries.
“But Speaker Sir, rather than resting on our laurels, DCGA is taking further steps to improve the delivery of services through the CDF as a development tool and strengthen its governance aspect, so that it is inclusive, tangible and sustainable in the long-term,” Minister Kopu highlighted.