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MPAs’ blame premier for budget impasse BUT Maka’a hits back “It’s just petty politics”

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The Non Executive Members of the MUP Provincial Assembly. Picture provided.
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The Non-Executive Members of the Makira Provincial Assembly have denied claims that they prevented the province from passing its 2022/23 budget, instead, they blame the current provincial government for the impasse.

It is a requirement by law that all appropriation ordinances assented to by the Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening before and, or by 31st day of March each year. In this case, the Makira Ulawa Provincial Assembly was unable to meet to discuss the budget before end of March—citing a deliberate move by the Non Executive Members using the stand-orders to sabotage the process.

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As a result of this, the province has now lost $2m funding support (about 60%) of their budget for the next year.

But in a statement today, the MUP Non Executive Members stated that they rejected any rumours alleging or purporting that they were attempting to prevent the MUPG assembly from passing the appropriation bill of 2022/2023. Consequently, the province has lost over two million of dollars (60% of the budget), worth of service and development for their people.

Instead, they said, they had attempted to advice the GURA Government of Premier Julian Maka’a to adhere to rules and regulations, especially, the standing orders, to effectively manage the affairs of the province in compliance with the laws of the province and Solomon Islands.

They also argued that the current assembly meeting impasse was an obvious failure of the current executive government to take heed of repeated advice, both from the Speaker’s Office, MPGIS and non-executive.

The Non executive members claimed the executive government has failed to prepare the budget in time to enable the Provincial Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) to scrutinize it to ensure the final draft is ready for assembly meeting.  They further argued that that the government’s attempt to backdate the days to meet the clear seven-day requirement was a breach of the standing orders.

The Non Executive MPAs are: Joe Takeli, MPA Ward 2; Jackson Sunaone; MPA Ward 5; Melchizedek Fagakira, MPA ward 9; Andrew Higa, MPA Ward 12; Silas Wagatora, MPA ward 13; Stanley Siapu, MPA ward 15; Henry Perongo, MPA ward 17; Matthew Taro, MPA ward 20.

Premier Maka’a’s Reponse

But speaking from Kirakira today, Maka’a said the non executive members were only trying to disturb the process.

“The meant to spoil the budget. And that’s what they have been doing for the past 36 years,” said Maka’a.

“They are the ones that control the process in 36. But we are focussing on improving the province. It’s just petty politics,” said Maka’a who was a broadcaster.

He said it is true that the delay had already cost the province 60% of their budget and they will be looking elsewhere to fill the gap.

On the impasse, Maka’a said they will be addressing the issue as of tomorrow and his government is looking forward to resolving the budget issue.

On development, Maka’a said his government has been working hard with the little resources they have. However, with the support of the government they have six big projects to work on to lift the profile of the province. Amongst the six project is the Kirakira wharf, tarsealing of the Kirkiara Airport, Ravu bridge and 18 4G towers to be built in the province.

Maka’a said things will be tough as the government will only give the provinces $20m instead of $60m under PCDF and a further $6m was further reduced from annual grants to the provinces.

Meanwhile Maka’a he stated that he’s confident of beating a motion of no confidence as he has the numbers— in the event that those opposed to his leadership wanted to move it against his government.

MEANWHILE, SEE BELOW IS THE FULL DETAILED PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NON EXECUTIVE MEMBERS OF THE MAKIRA ULAWA PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLY

Media press release

The current situation on Makira Ulawa Provincial Assembly Meeting

The members of the non-executive of the provincial assembly of Makira Ulawa (MUPA) wish to collectively make the following public media statements on the current situation on the provincial assembly meeting.

This is purposely to ensure balance reporting and facts of the matter, with regards to how and why the current assembly meeting on the Makira Ulawa Provincial Appropriation Bill of the 2022/2023 financial year budget of 2022 has flopped and stands to be disqualified as deadline of the provincial government annual fiscal year appropriation bills must be passed by the assembly before the 31st of March every year, and appropriation ordinances assented to by the Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening before and, or by 31st day of March each year.

It has come to the knowledge of the non-executive members that the executive government is passing the buck, and blaming the non-executive members for the situation and failure of the assembly to meet the deadline of 31st March 2022.

Background of events leading up to the provincial assembly meeting of Friday 25th march 2022 to 31st March 2022 at Kirakira Provincial Headquarter.

  1. The executive government has failed to prepare the budget in time to enable the Provincial Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) to scrutinize the draft appropriation bill 2022/2023 budget to ensure final draft is ready for assembly meeting of which the Clerk of the Assembly will issue notice for MPAs’ for the meeting in ample time.
  • The speaker of the Makira Ulawa Provincial Assembly appointed the current supervising assembly clerk (incumbent admitted to Kirakira hospital) on 21st March 2022; the speaker then instructed the Acting Clerk to issue a notice of meeting to all members of the provincial assembly (MPAs’) under standing order 60 on the same day, back dating the notice to 15th March 2022 to ensure the assembly meets on Friday 25th March 2022, seven clear days from the date of the notice.
  • On Friday 25th March 2022, assembly proceedings commenced, non-executive members raised a point of order citing the dating of the assembly notice improper and in breach of the relevant standing order, section 57 and 60, since the back dating of such notices could be seen as hidden motives to bypass certain important matters of the assembly business.
  • The standing order was later withdrawn after the speaker acknowledged the deliberate action (back dating of the notice to 15th March 2022) and assured the house that his office will not again repeat the matter raised, in the future.
  • The speaker then ruled that due to current covid situation, the sitting shall continue with the businesses of the assembly order paper. The premier opening address and the minister of finance presenting his budget speech on the appropriation bill of 2022/2023 of 2022.
  • It became apparent during the meeting that PPAC has not formally endorsed their report on the draft budget and the executive has not received PPAC’s report as stipulated under standing order 210 and 211, quote “PPAC to immediately forward its report to premier for consideration by the executive prior to the assembly meeting” end of quote.
  • The assembly sitting was then adjourned for Saturday to allow PPAC to finalize their report and for the executive to scrutinize PPAC’s report.
  • On Saturday 26th March, upon resumption of the assembly meeting, the non-executive again arose to raise a point of order pertaining to standing order section 137. Quote “if insufficient time to debate motion it shall have priority at next meeting” end of quote.
  • The non-executive members made reference to motions and resolutions registered in the order book for the November 2021 assembly meeting which there was insufficient time to debate during the last meeting.
  1. The non-executive members felt that the executive government in collaboration with Speaker’s Office have a hidden motive to back date the notice for the meeting with the intention to avoid the motion that currently in place in the office of the assembly.
  1. The non-executive members therefore request the premier to voluntary step down or a vote to be conducted to ascertain if the premier still has the number to pass the budget.
  1. The Speaker’s Office consulted Attorney General Office (ag) for legal clarification regarding issues raised. The assembly sitting was then suspended to Wednesday 30th march 2022 following the advice from the AG’s Office.
  1. On Monday 28th March 2022, the assembly clerk issued a notice to resume sitting on Tuesday 29th march 2022, despite the AG’s suspension advice and the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) legal opinion that the back dating of the notice was unprocedural (not proper according to MUA standing orders).
  1. On Tuesday 29th March 2022, the Assembly meeting resumed and during which a point of order was again raised in relation to AG’s suspension advice on Saturday 26th march 2022 and MPGIS legal opinion issued on Monday 28th march 2022. The Speaker ruled against the point of order and allowed the meeting to proceed.
  1. The Speaker allowed the minister of finance to table a motion under so 140 (c) which was later debated and voted on and passed. A point of order was raised on the validity of the sitting and the motion in the absence of the AG’s office advice and against the MPGIS legal opinion.
  1. The Speaker then called for adjournment of the sitting to resume on Wednesday 30th March 2022, pending legal advice from the AG’s Office.
  1. On Wednesday 30th March 2022, the speaker resumed the sitting and briefed the house on the current situation. The speaker stressed that his office wish not to further complicate the current situation without the absence of AG’s Office legal opinion, hence, asked the premier to adjourn the house pending advice from the AG’s office which was later carried.

The non-executive’s position to the current assembly situation.

  1. The non-executive thus rejects any rumours alleging or purporting that we are attempting to prevent the MUPG assembly from passing the appropriation bill of 2022/2023 of 2022, causing the 2022/2023 budget to fail and consequently, losing over two million of dollars (60% of the budget), worth of service and development for our people.
  • The non-executive members therefore, has attempted to advice the GURA Government to adhere to rules and regulations, especially, the standing orders, to effectively manage the affairs of the people of Makira Province in compliance to the laws of our province and Solomon Islands.
  • The non-executive members thus, wish to confirm and clarify that the current assembly meeting impasse which now disqualified our 2022/2023 budget was an obvious failure of the current executive government in failing to take heed, repeated advice, both from the speaker’s office, MPGIS and non-executive.
  • The non-executive members deeply concerned over the ignorant attitude of the current government in not seriously and thoroughly managing our province on the following issues;
  1. Their insistence to advice people to direct their submission for the covid-19 stimulus package to MUPG office other than to the PM’s Office. Their decision and actions have denied our people from this funding opportunity.
  1. The executive continues to ignore their management roles and as such has unnecessarily lost over 1.4 million dollars in the 2020/2021 PCDF funding for which our people could have experienced progress, had our executive government worked harder and together.
  1. The GURA government has again forced to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars for their negligence of responsibilities. This year, the government is again being forced to repay more than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00).
  1. The delay of this 2022/2023 budget only best reflects the negligence and inability of our current GURA Government in managing the affairs of our people. It is the first in the history of Makira Ulawa Province that the provincial budget failed and disqualified, and consequently, causing Makira Ulawa Province to lose over two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) which could have improved services and development in our beloved province.

The non-executive members wish to assure our people of our commitment to do all our best to serve our people with honesty, transparency and accountability.

We, the non-executive members of Makira Ulawa provincial assembly affirmed that this is our official media press release on the current situation faced our current assembly sitting, to clarify rumours and fake news that spread within our beloved province.

Thank you and almighty god bless our beloved MUPG.

Hon Joe Takeli, MPA Ward 2: ………………………………………………….

Hon Jackson Sunaone, MPA Ward 5: ……………………………………

Hon Melchizedek Fagakira, MPA ward 9: ……………………………

Hon Andrew Higa. MPA Ward 12: …………………………………………

Hon Silas Wagatora, MPA ward 13: ……………………………………

Hon Stanley Siapu, MPA ward 15: ………………………………………..

Hon Henry Perongo, MPA ward 17: …………………………………….

Hon Matthew Taro, MPA ward 20: ……………………………………..

MUMPAS

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