The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is undertaking fundamental reforms to keep up with change amidst increasing demands for better service delivery to all Solomon Islanders.
These reforms include;
- Development of the MRD new information/database management system to track, capture and store information on the progress of projects under Constituency Development Fund (CDF) program in order to promote accountability and transparency.
- Constituency Planning Strengthening Project (CPSP) which aimed at improving the CDF accountability for sustainable development results.
- MRD functional review which is currently proceeding to assess practical efficiencies and effectiveness of the ministry in fulfilling its mandate.
“Government through the ministry is determined to improve the effectiveness of the CDF and to deliver sustainable development results through these reform initiatives,” Permanent Secretary Daonga said.
MRD is one of the government’s line ministry mandated for the management and administration of CDF and supporting socio-economic rural development within the 50 constituencies throughout Solomon Islands.
“The CDF program constitute nearly a quarter of the government overall development budget allocations annually. However, there is no proper tracking mechanism to be able to track the progress of the projects under this program in order to promote accountability and transparency. Also, there is no reporting mechanism to guide government policies regarding the program. Therefore, MRD through its management has listed the development of this Information Management System that would help address the aforementioned shortfalls in its capabilities,” Mr Daonga emphasized.
On the reforms of Constituency Planning Strengthening Project (CPSP) the Permanent Secretary said that MRD is taking a leading role in reforming the constituency planning process to ensure its priorities are consistent with the National Development Strategy (NDS) Objectives and other related international and regional strategies including the Sustainable Development Goals that Solomon Islands has subscribed to by 2030.
“Strengthening the planning and institutional arrangements are fundamental to address the current situation and must be championed at both the constituency and national levels.
“Provisioned under the Legal Notice 164 and the CDF Act 2013, MRD is responsible for the coordination of the RCDF in close collaboration with 50 constituencies towards delivering tangible development results in the rural areas. The CDF Act Section 6, emphasize the need to have Constituency Development Plans developed to guide the distribution of the CDF. However, the enforcement of the CDF Act is limited as regulations accompanying the CDF Act is yet to be gazetted. Despite of the level of funding provided, there is very little information on how RCDF funds are used and in what manner it is allocated for development purposes at the constituency level. So, CPSP once implemented sequentially would realise the overall goal of the program which is, “to improve the CDF accountability for sustainable development results.”
The third fundamental reform which currently undertaken by MRD is the functional review. A fulfilment of the reforms is the establishment of the Communication and Public Relations Unit of the ministry.
“The Functional Review will assess functional efficiencies and effectiveness of MRD in fulfilling its mandate, specifically how the different Units within Rural Development Division function to deliver the overall mandate of the Ministry,” Mr Daonga said.
The review also asses the other departments within the ministry on the same.
The Permanent Secretary is adamant that the revised structure will position the Ministry to best deliver its key mandates, the Corporate Plan performance indicators, NDS implementation and DCGA Reprioritisation Policy priorities that will enhance delivery of services to the people of Solomon Islands.
MRD vision is to ensure all rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihood.