The Solomon Islands government recently spent four million dollars to purchase 22 new vehicles from local suppliers in Honiara.Media reports stated that ten of them were bought from Tongs Corporation while 12 of them from Ela Motors. A remaining five vehicles will be supplied at a later stage.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development's mechanical department director Henry Maere said it costs the government around four-million dollars to purchase the vehicles, calculating to about more than one-hundred thousand dollars each.
The newly purchased vehicles have already been provided to ministers who don't have any as well as permanent secretaries using vehicles hired by the government. Some of these new vehicles were also given to those who were using very old vehicles. According to Mr Maere the old vehicles will be reassessed and if still usable, will be reallocated to other government ministries, while those that are unfit for use will be tendered out.
Meanwhile, the President of the Solomon Islands New Generation Party is calling on the government to show more commitment to the people. Party President Ishmael Nori says the party is sad to see the government dishing out 4 million dollars on new vehicles while the National Referral Hospital is in need of proper life saving machines and equipment.
Party President Ishmael Nori says currently, the hospital is in need of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan and other life saving equipment worth around the value of the vehicles.
He says while he respects that Ministers and their Permanent Secretaries need vehicles, it is questionable why they are choosing expensive hiluxes and not cheaper vehicles such as cars or RAV4s.
He also questioned the deterioration rates of these hiluxes and urged Ministers and their PSs to take responsibility in looking after and ensuring these government assets is used by their successors.
Mr Nori adds that leaders must not think of themselves, but rather take sacrifices by accepting to use cheaper vehicles.