The Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance and Treasury has rejected speculations that the 2014 Budget is in Crisis.
The Ministry clarified this in response to a news article by Alfred Sasako who claimed that the Government is facing a budget crisis on funding for constituency development this year.
Sasako claimed that the so-called budget crisis has forced Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to slash this year’s funding by sixty percent.
But the Ministry of Finance today reiterated points made to Parliament in the Minister of Finance’s 2014 Budget Speech, noting that the 2014 Budget is “a responsible Budget which will ensure economic stability”.
“The Budget is fully funded meaning growth in expenditure is affordable and will help to provide services for all Solomon Islanders without jeopardising the country’s future,” said Permanent Secretary Mr Shadrach Fanega.
In 2014 the Government is budgeting to spend $3,503 million, including donor funding of $664 million and total contingency provisions of $34.6 million. The Government plans to spend $2,861 million in recurrent expenditure and $641 million towards development projects.
Constituency funding continues to be a key mechanism for the Government to deliver services, with the 2014 Budget including $187 million across a number of Ministries.
Constituency funding is typically provided to Members of Parliament to provide support to Solomon Islanders through the year that is practical and aimed at improving their lives and opportunities.
This year, constituency development funds have been reduced by around 39 per cent on the amounts provided in the 2013 Budget. This reflects both the winding up of several programs as the development budget matures and better reflects the National Development Strategy.
It is in recognition of the reduced opportunity for Members of Parliament to commit funds before the dissolution of Parliament in early September and the national general election in around October.
“This is good financial management on behalf of the Government. It is absolutely appropriate that funding for constituency projects, which are largely administered by the Members of Parliament, should be reduced to reflect the shortened opportunity to commit funding due to the election this year”, said Mr Fanega.
The Government also remains committed to ensuring development projects are consistent with the National Development Strategy and the Medium Term Development Plan, with around $641 million expected to be spent this year towards progressing government’s development goals.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office calls on Mr Sasako to exercise responsible journalism by checking his facts first to avoid writing ill-informed stories that misleads the world.
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Douglas Marau said Sasako has only belittled himself as a self-styled veteran journalist by glorifying unfounded claims in the media.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit