The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) has commenced its nationwide consultation on the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development Policy (CD).
Permanent Secretary for MRD Dr. Samson Viulu lead the team for a two day consultation in Isabel Province.
The purpose of the consultation workshop is to gather the views and inputs of MRD stakeholders towards the formulation and design of the policy framework.
The policy framework will set the bases for MRD internal taskforce to develop the drafting instructions of the proposed review on the CDF Act 2013. It will also further enhance the planning, coordination, implementation and management of the CDF.
“Vision of the policy is to achieve safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities all throughout Solomon Islands by 2035. Views from the wider pubic including from rural folks will be gathered through consultations and a policy working draft will be distributed to all the relevant stakeholders for their invaluable inputs,” PS Dr. Viulu highlighted.
He said that once the policy is completed and approved by Cabinet, it shall become the first ever policy focusing on constituency development in Solomon Islands.
PS Viulu further stated that the CD policy is intended to guide how development should take root in all constituencies through the CDF implementation mechanisms and in collaboration with relevant line ministries and other stakeholders.
“The new development policy will make more emphasis in the productive and resource sectors including essential services to address the issues and challenges faced daily by rural dwellers thereby activate an additional percentage of the productive population to contribute to the national revenue consequently grow our local and national economy.
“…with specific instructions from the political leaders to amend the existing CDF Act to decentralize government services by bringing them closer to all our rural areas particularly at the constituency level, the ministry of rural development has embarked on developing the constituency development policy for Solomon Islands,” PS Viulu said.
The CD policy will assist the ministry as the main conduit for CDF to address some of the following issues;
- Ministry has no existing development policy to guide the proper governing and management of the CDF
- Lack of regulations on the CDF Act 2013
- Continuous high dependency on members of parliament and the CDF by constituents.
- Inconsistent and unsustainable income generating activities in the constituencies.
- Absence of basic socioeconomic infrastructures in the constituencies.
- Near-absence of government services in the productive and resource sectors at the constituency level.
- Irregular transport services from urban centres to rural areas.
- Lack of quality education at the constituency level.
- Poor access to quality health by most rural dwellers.
- Water supply and proper sanitation challenges in majority of rural communities.
- Lack of guidelines to direct constituencies on what priority areas to allocate limited resources under the CDF.
- The policy will also enhance collaboration between MRD and line ministries to bring needed government services much closer to the rural people.
- decentralizing government services and demarcating duties and responsibilities of constituencies under the MRD,
- identifying and prioritizing limited resources to priority focus areas,
- Streamlining planning and management processes.
- strengthening M&E and subsequent governance of public funds utilized by the ministry through constituencies,
- ownership of properties and machineries purchased in the name of constituencies,
- Establishment of proper governing structures at the constituency, ward and community levels and
- Effective partnerships with everyone both in the public and private sectors either nationally and or internationally to achieve safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities by 2035.
A taskforce was established in MRD and spearheaded by the Deputy Secretary Technical Hugo Hebala and Director Governance Hickson George in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) to lead efforts on the drafting of the policy.
Other main features of the policy are identification of main thematic focus areas, allocation of financial resources, constituency governance, improved and more focused delivery mechanisms and proper coordination, planning and sustenance of income generating projects.
Other activities that will also coincide with the consultation is the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of CDF funded projects in Maringe-kokota constituency by MRD M&E officers.
Source: Press Release, MRD