TSI Supports Call By Malaita Premier on $15M Donation for Hospitals
TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) supports the call by the Premier of Malaita Province Mr. Daniel Suidani for the government to be transparent as well as explain what has become of the $15 million donated by the New Zealand Government intended for Kilufi and Gizo hospital that was paid into the Stimulus package. The correct thing for the Executive Government to do is either to release the $15 million donated by the New Zealand Government for Kilufi and Gizo Hospital to the two provinces or explain to the public where this money is and if there is any plans or programs debited against it. It is also important for the Executive Government to assure Malaita and Western Province Premiers and people that this amount has not found its way into the Economic Stimulus Package. Transparency Solomon Islands also believes that both the provinces should be involved in and take the lead decision on what are the priorities of these two hospitals that this fund could be used for.
The silence on this publicly announced funding it unacceptable. It would also be very irresponsible on the part of the Executive Government if for whatever reason the $15 million intended for the two hospitals is diverted to something else, other than the two hospitals, without any consultation with our development partner and the Premiers of the two provinces. The confirmation from the New Zealand High Commissioner Georgina Roberts that the money has been released to the government upon enquiry by Premier Suidani deserves an urgent answer and explanation from the Executive Government. The Executive Government no longer have any excuse to delay response, nor does it have any excuse to delay the release of the funds for the purpose for which it was given. The improvement of these two hospitals will build their capacity to deal with current health and medical needs of their people, prepare for any outbreak of Covid – 19 and employment opportunities however small for the people of the two provinces.
The Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) is currently making payments in millions [$181,272,674.00 in total] from the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) randomly. It is only right that the Premier of Malaita Province should be concerned and the executive government to be transparent assuring the people of both provinces that the donation for the hospitals have not been diverted to the Economic Stimulus Package pay outs. The payment list Transparency Solomon Islands has been given does not have any payment against these two hospitals for now. It is commendable on the part of the premier to came out publicly enquiring about the faith of the $15 million allocated for the two hospitals. Transparency Solomon Islands urges the Premier of Western Province to also enquire in support of the Premier of Malaita Province. The two provinces should be concerned now that the reason for the discrepancies of the ESP constituency allocations. Some MPs the Permanent Secretary of Finance tells us that they have plans for their constituencies for infrastructures etc. thus the millions paid to them. The Executive Government needs to be reminded of the intention of the $15 million to prevent the amount being shared among the Members of Parliaments (MPs) under their ESP discretion, in the name health infrastructures.
Transparency Solomon Islands remind the executive government the importance of the $15million reaching its destinations at this point in time to improve these two important provincial hospitals given the presence of covid-19 now in the country and the likelihood of it getting out into the communities. That fund for both hospitals must be prioritized for the work needed by the two hospitals as decided together by the provincial governments and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to save lives and provide the most needed health services for our people in both Malaita and Western Province.
If for any reason the government has already exhausted the money for something else then it must keep in mind that people of Malaita and Western province are still waiting for the money to improve the health services in Gizo and Auki. It must find money somewhere else to replace this fund and the most appropriate would be to decrease the ESP allocation going through members of Parliament to the $600,000.00. Already the data on payments charged against the ESP is scary. Not only that but changes in decisions made were not made in a transparent way nor publicly when one examines payments made out to constituencies. The ESP is politically controlled and influenced by MPs and as such it is unlikely to result as a catalyst for stimulating the economy. It will again be millions down the drain with little achievement as the country has witnessed in the CDF. Transparency Solomon Islands urged the DCGA government to inform the people of Malaita and Western Province that the $15 million donated for the two hospitals is still sitting there to be used for the two hospitals and to work with the two provinces in implementing the project. For transparency and accountability sake, DCGA must tell this nation where the money is since the people of Malaita and Western province are still waiting for the support from the fund to reach them.
It will be disgraceful to our foreign relationships not only with the New Zealand Government and the citizens of this country and people of Solomon Islands that the $15 million of their taxpayers money has been used and exhausted for other uses without informing the aid donor and the two provinces. Hence, the executive government must use the money for the two hospitals it is intended for. If for some reason it has been diverted, tell this nation about it and what priority is more important than the lives-saving hospitals. TSI commends and encourage provincial leaders to monitor what is going on, seek information and demand transparency and accountability from the national government for decisions they make in the name of the country. Transparency Solomon Islands would like to strongly believe that the said funds $15 million from the taxpayers of New Zealand has not been diverted for other uses.