The National Parliamentary Opposition has questioned the National Government's usage of the $2.3 million dollars it allocated for the recent Premiers' Conference in Lata, Temotu Province.A statement from the Opposition Office says that findings by the Office of the Leader of Opposition have revealed that five provincial secretaries, the Honiara City Clerk and other government officials are still stranded in the Temotu Provincial capital after attending the week-long conference and that the bills incurred from the running of the event have not been settled.
The finding established that the accounting officer sent from the Ministry of Provincial Government headquarters in Honiara to administer the funding for the meeting returned to the capital with $600,000 but never advised the Temotu Provincial authority of any traveling arrangements for the stranded delegates and the payment of the bills.
The finding also established that the Ministry of Provincial Government is trying to pass some of the responsibility of meeting the bills to the Temotu Provincial Government when they should be charged against the $2.3-million allocation.
The Acting Leader of Opposition, Japhet Waipora said $2.3million is more than sufficient to ensure the successful hosting of the meeting and the fact that officials are still stranded and that bills remain standing warrants an investigation.
Hon. Waipora said the initiative for the provinces to take turns in hosting the premiers' conference was made by the former Grand Coalition for Change Government and it is aimed at injecting money into the provinces. He said it is unfortunate to see that Temotu Province stands to loss more financially than gain from hosting the important event.
The West Makira MP said based on the finding, what the CNURA Government has described to be a successful Premiers Conference was instead a liability to the host.
The Express was unable to get any comments from the Ministry of Provincial Government when we went to press last night. However, the Prime Minister's Press Secretary George Atkin told the Express last night that while he was not in a position to comment on any issue to do with financial allocations and spending, he understood that provincial secretaries being stranded at Lata due to unavailability of planes for both normal schedules and charters with Solomon Airlines.
With National Express