The government will start settling arrears it has with quarantine centres throughout the country once an internal audit on the accommodations and facilities is completed this week, permanent secretary of finance and treasury Mckinnie Dentana exclusively to SBMOnline today.
Certain accommodation providers have expressed concern on government’s delay in settling their outstanding dues and urge those arrears be settled immediately. These service providers are providing their accommodation for returning nationals to stay as part of the government’s COVID-19 requirement.
Responding to SBMOnline’s question on the outstanding arrears, PS Dentana said: “Our internal audit is currently doing an audit and verification exercise on all quarantine management costs/arrears throughout the country (not only here in Honiara). They should finish this important task this week.”
He added: “Once completed we will start paying all the arrears, as we have funds secured to clear all the verified bills.”
Dentana said the exercise is important as there are evidences on some facilities/accommodations that accommodate NON-SIG repatriates but they also bill SIG.”
The government is only responsible to accommodate its returning nationals.
Meanwhile, Dentana said this exercise also covers catering, room services and utility bills.
The PS could not reveal how much the government owes the service providers but his magazine understands that it is substantial.
This magazine understands that the government has used certain hotels in Honiara and facilities to accommodate returning nationals. The current quarantine protocols require only 10 days but passengers must meet required negative test results for COVID.