The National Government through Cabinet has endorsed the new Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy 2023-2032, a key policy framework that will lead to the amendment of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act 2013 and regulations.
Approved on March 2nd, 2023, the policy is a ten-year cross-sectoral overarching roadmap that will guide the implementation of tangible and sustainable development in the rural constituencies of Solomon Islands toward improving social and economic livelihood of every Solomon Islanders.
It was developed by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary Dr Samson Viulu with the unwavering support from his senior management team and the political support of the Minister responsible Honourable Duddley Kopu.
“The approval by Cabinet was a landmark feat for MRD.
“It proved the firm commitment and the unfaltering desire of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) toward improving social and economic livelihoods of every indigenous Solomon Islanders and local communities as well as strengthen the governance of the CDF programme and the CDF itself,” PS Viulu said.
He then acknowledged the DGCA government for setting the legacy which generations will remember in many years to come. The Permanent Secretary also thanked MRD management, staff, stakeholders, rural people and every individual who contributed toward the formulation, design, consultations and eventual drafting of the policy.
PS Viulu said the policy is the first ever development policy by MRD since its inception in 2007 and the first constituency development policy for Solomon Islands.
“The policy is a living document that will be constantly reviewed, revised and updated overtime to adapt to the needs of our people and the country as a whole.
“It is derived from various strategies and policies and well-informed opinions and assessments collated from the relevant line ministries, the private sector, donor partners and rural dwellers (communities, villages and people) through numerous consultations.
“It is a home-grown policy, one that is based on actual successes and challenges experienced over the last decades through the implementation of the CDF program.
“It is not a replica of some foreign based concepts but a true bottom up approach (BUA) where, observations, views and recommendations of our rural dwellers are captured in the policy,” he stressed.
He further said that the formulation of this policy is an effort by the DCGA government to reorient the focus of the CDF and other public funds meant for constituency development more toward the productive, resource and essential sectors to boost rural development and economic growth.
“It provides for a framework of partnership in planning, coordination, implementation, monitoring and reporting between MRD and important stakeholders to advance socio-economic development in Solomon Islands through constituencies.
“The policy focuses on addressing the development needs of every constituencies in very practical and holistic manner, one that is inclusive, sustainable, consultative, transparent and responsive.
“SICD Policy emphasize on a sustainable integrated approach by synergizing existing rural development models, approaches and efforts by government ministries, donor partners, NGOs and the private sector particularly local entrepreneurs.
“These partnerships include aligning of priorities and target areas, resource allocations, resource sharing and utilization, and streamlining of processes for smoother co-implementation,” PS Viulu said.
He added that the policy will pave the way to decentralize government services and facilitate the creation of employment opportunities for the majority of young and productive populace in the rural areas of the country.
“Solomon Islands economy continues to be vulnerable to shocks as majority of its population do not actively partake in economic activities though the potential is always there.
“Only a small proportion of the population continue to contribute to the national revenue of Solomon Islands through taxes, licenses and fees while the majority do not. Should fifty percent of the productive population actively participate in the cash economy, Solomon Islands will certainly see growth in its economy and eventual development of Solomon Islands will be realized.
“Therefore, this policy is needed to activate at least 50% of the total productive population to engage in some sort of regular income generating activities to self-sustain themselves by providing for their cash needs and elevate cash circulation in the rural areas through a decentralization strategy,” he said.
“SICD Policy is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1 – 9, DCGA policy redirections 18.104.22.168 on Rural Development and the NDS 2016-2035 Medium Term Strategies Objectives on sustained and inclusive economic growth, food security, equitable distribution of benefits of development and improved access for all Solomon Islanders to quality health and education. The policy is also linked directly with the reformed structure and functions of the ministry in its corporate plan 2019-2023.”
PS Viulu encourages the public to come talk to the Ministry of Rural Development on what additional areas should be included in the policy since, it is an organic policy open to new better ideas.