The Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) through Cabinet last year approved and endorsed a first of its kind ‘Solomon Islands Government Virtual Engagement Policy,’ that eventually saved the government 400 million dollars in meeting expenses.
This was confirmed by Mr. Bernard Bata’anisia, National Consultant of Fundamental Reform Unit, Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The policy is aimed at ensuring SIG effectively engages in its meeting and conferences internationally as well as nationally virtually.
Mr. Bataánisia said “the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement(DCGA) in the course of implementing this policy saw that during the 2 year lockdown and travel restrictions both abroad and domestically, SIG had saved over $400 Million Dollars on costs related to travel expenses, accommodations and Per Diems therefore the SIG Virtual Engagement Policy was a way forward in Communication Technology and a Cost Cutting measure which has and will continue to literally save millions of dollars in government expenditure.”
The SIG Virtual Engagement Policy guides and provides for Virtual meetings with the underlying principle in ensuring a cost effective and efficient use of government resources while promoting the interest of the Government of Solomon Islands is pursued in virtual meetings.
Ministry of Health workers mainly from the Health Promotion Division were enlightened by Mr. Bernard in a half day ZOOM workshop organized by IPAM on the entails of the SIG Virtual Engagement Policy.
Mr. Bata’anisia said the closure of international borders especially due to restriction of movements and interruptions to domestic travel gave rise to the need for government to ensure Solomon Islands remain engaged with its bilateral and multilateral partners during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure Ministries and Public Officers continue to communicate with key stakeholders in the provinces.
Mr.Bata’anisia said the SIG Virtual Engagement Policy was necessary in order to adapt to technological change especially with Online Video conferencing now a preference for communication by International agencies hosting virtual engagements leading to the necessity for government ministries to establish video conferencing facilities within their office premises to support officials to participate in virtual meetings.