Wale demands clarifications on ESP, claiming PS & team are hiding something

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Opposition Leader, Hon. Matthew Wale reiterates his call on the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Ministry of Finance and Treasury to clarify and explain the current status of the ESP.

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The Opposition Leader’s call came in view of concerns raised over how the controversial ESP has been administered. 

Hon. Wale was questioning the lack of an updated list of payments with complete details, pointing out that there is a need to get a list of payments with amounts against the name of recipients.

“It is senseless to have a list of approved applications that are incomplete, especially the amount approved for funding”, he said.

 “This missing information is important and the failure to provide it, gives the impression that the PS and his team are hiding something from the public. This list should be posted in the ESP Portal so that it can be easily accessed by the public”, said Hon. Wale.

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Hon. Wale went on to add that, “The PS needs to explain how and why they continue to make ESP payments to recipients even before the approval of budget appropriations by the Parliament”.

He stressed that the PS and Minister of Finance should both know that spending of public funds in 2021, without prior approval of the budget in Parliament is illegal and the public is entitled to an explanation. 

The Opposition Leader further added that reports have also revealed some recent payments being made in “cash cheques” to recipients in Honiara, in contravention to expected government practices, and should also be properly explained. 

Meanwhile, Hon. Wale welcomed comments of reporting and monitoring activities expected in April to June followed by an audit in third quarter of this year.

He said the Stimulus Package is intended to assist businesses during the Covid-19 period, however to date, lacks transparency in its administration and management which risks further deteriorating business confidence and expected stimulus outcomes across the country. 

Ends//

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