Transparency Solomon Islands tonight expresses serious concern that rural farmers who account for 80% of the country’s population are likely to miss out on the Stimulus Package because of the politicization of the endorsement process.
In a statement tonight, TSI says there are some serious concerns that rural farmers who account for over 80% of the country’s population are likely not to benefit from the so-called Stimulus Package.
“This sense of discouragement came following the revelation that the fund allocated for small businesses must sought endorsement from the Members of Parliament (MP) for each of the 50 constituencies. Thus, subjecting constituents of the common culture in Solomon Islands that only voters of the MP have the chance to receive support from what goes through scrutiny of the MPs. Meaning that only minority of the population (applicants who voted the MP) within the constituency will benefit from the stimulus package,” the statement read.
According to TSI, each MP earlier received more than $800,000 this year in the name of covid-19 to assist their constituencies, which probably will benefit only the MPs’ voters.
TSI sees it as totally unfair, not only as citizens but as a rural farmer contributing daily to micro-economic activities of Solomon Islands.
Furthermore, it says rural farmers’ supply both consumable goods in the local market and contribute to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country during these hard times, by continuing to produce exportable commodities such as copra, cocoa, kava and most importantly taking care of their own food security.
TSI says: “The intention behind the economic stimulus package was to help keep the national economy afloat and increasing production for import substitution at this period of global disaster stemmed from the covid-19 pandemic, until such time the situation gets back to normal. Hence, the process of having your proposal endorsed by the MP does not fall in line with the initial intention that gave birth to the idea of the economic stimulus package, since approval will go only for those who were close friends, cronies or relatives of the MP as now experienced by many.
“This is what is being experience in Solomon Islands with the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) over the years and obviously is the case with this current stimulus package.
“This not only further discriminating constituents from the benefits acquired from the MP’s discretion but leave behind a huge manpower and resource-rich land that should have been engaged to support the economy in the near future,” TSI said.
Read TSI’s full statement