Transparency Solomon Islands notes the comments made on the two lists that it released to the public from the leaked list of payments made against the Economic Stimulus Package. A week has passed and whilst there has been a number of weak responses from the Ministry of Finance, they have so far not released the correct list.
Regarding the imprest holder issue, Transparency Solomon Islands urges the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance to release the list of payments made under those imprests to students. There are allegations that the students engaged have close link with the imprest holders and, given the amount involved and the superficial explanatory notes from the ministry responsible, releasing the list of payments made against the imprest is important. Not releasing the quantitative and qualitative report of how the imprest of more than $1.4 million was used can only mean the misuse and abuse of the said amount.
Regarding the individuals outside of the imprest holders, it is very disappointing that there was no explanation at all from the Ministry of Finance. They are only outspoken on those payments against their staff or themselves being the imprest holders. Some of the feedbacks received indicate that some recipients did not apply for the funds but did receive the funds into their account. The application was either made by their tenants to cover cost or others than themselves. In some instances, the applicant asked for part of the amount to be withdrawn and given to them. These allegations require the Ministry of Finance to investigate and closely monitor what is going on and ensure these practices are stopped or dealt with appropriately.
In this article Transparency Solomon Islands shares the list of payments against the Economic Stimulus Package to State-Owned Enterprises, faith-based recipients and payments made to Government Trust Accounts.
From the information received from the public following the lists released previously, Transparency Solomon Islands, hopes that what these payments are for, be it rental or otherwise, the onus is on these responsible authorities to inform the responsible ministry that they received these amounts into their accounts and for what purpose. If any of these payments are against rentals it is hoped that the tenants who applied do not demand for a part of the funds paid be paid back to them. Should such occur, your responsibility is to report it to the authority.
With State-Owned Enterprises, Transparency Solomon Islands recognizes the important role that SIBC performs in disseminating information and believe they could have been given more to support them at this time. Sadly, that is not the case. Whilst SIWA receives Economic Stimulus Package for customer payments, it has been the experience of many that their bills have increased. They have given many reasons that are not valid for not reading their meters and charging them thousands of dollars when they have maintained their payment on the level of when these were read. It is hoped that with this help they will reduce the tariff for water bills and electricity bills to ensure we can afford water to wash our hands and help businesses that are struggling. Alas this is not to be and both SIWA and Solomon Power’s bill continue to rise.
Transparency Solomon Islands believes that the Ministry of Finance or the Executive Government need to explain to the public and the taxpayers of Solomon Islands the rationale behind the payment of these amounts to Government Trust Accounts. From the explanation given by the government of the reason for the Economic Stimulus Package, these do not seem to fit and need to be explained.
Again Transparency Solomon Islands urges the Executive Government to allow for an independent examination of what is going on in the manner in which the Economic Stimulus package is implemented and whether indeed they will stimulate economic activities as planned or not and put on hold any further payments from the remaining. It is also suggested that the membership of the Stimulus Economic Committee should include members from the private sector and NGO of persons who have experience, for the responses coming from those who are managing this shows inexperience or no depth of knowledge about how to grow the economy of the country and the instruments that government how the public finances are managed and administered.