Minister of Finance and Treasury Harry Kuma has admitted that the latest population count results which now puts the country’s population at 721,000 will put pressure on the limited resources in terms of equal distribution to the provinces and sectors.
Speaking today during the launching of the provisional results of the 2019 National Census Results Kuma says though the population growth rate has slowed down to 2.7% from 3% ten years ago, it remains the highest in the Pacific.
“As the minister responsible for the national budget it will put pressure on our limited resources especially in terms of decisions regarding equal distribution of funds to provinces and sectors,” he said in his statement.
He says the government now has to adjust its fiscal advisory framework to cater for the increase of 270,000 people.
Kuma reiterates that with annual growth slowing down to 2.7 it is still the highest growth rate in the Pacific region it will have implications on income per capita and create policy challenges.
The minister also expresses concern about the rapid population growth of Honiara, which is now 130,000 and is the highest with annual growth rate of 5.8%.
“I am concerned with the rapid growth in Honiara with rapid population density close to 6000 people per square kilometer. The growth in Honiara is driving urban growth in the country,” he adds.
Kuma says those in Honiara know the challenges and urban planning for Honiara is therefore critical now for government’s intervention to overcome overcrowding and demand for more housing, utilities and other basic services.