TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) commend the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Guadalcanal Honorable Rollen Seleso for the creation and launching of a Development Plan for his constituency.
As can be noted from previous years, a significant portion of government’s budget was allocated for constituency development through the Constituency Development Funds (CDF), channeled through the Ministry of Rural Development. During the 10th Parliament each constituency received more than $26 Million in CDF. Such funding like this, if used for its right purposes of developing our communities, we could see actual and significant development transforming the lives of people. It is no secret that some of our rural communities are still experiencing lack of proper sanitation, lack of clean drinking and other harsh conditions. Because of these conditions, it can be challenging to address and deal with such a situation without proper planning. The Constituency Development Funds Act 2013 enable CDF to be channeled through members of Parliament for the purposes of developing constituencies. It also provides that “each constituency shall prepare a Constituency Development Plan based on a Constituency Development Office Profile as a basis for the disbursement of Constituency Development Funds”. Having a Development plan provides certainty and improves the quality of decision-making process with regards the use of the development funds in achieving its purpose as intended by the government.
There has always been lack of transparency with regards the use of the constituency development funds and constituents are left wondering where their money went. There is often no information made available by the member of Parliament and constituency officers with regards the Constituency Development Plan and the CDF retirement. Although such information is public information, the Constituency officers and members of Parliament fail to share such information with their constituencies, except to close supporters and cronies.
Therefore, TSI wish to commend Hon. Seleso for the launch of the South Guadalcanal Constituency Development plan in July 2020 and call on other MPs to do the same for their constituencies.
Hon. Seleso said during the launching of the Development Plan that was published in the Sunday Isles that, the aim of creating a Development Plan 2019-2023 for South Guadalcanal Constituency has at its roots – the empowerment of its people.
Explaining the object of the document contains the need of our people, according to the priority sectors; of Agriculture and Livestock, Fisheries, Tourism, Commerce, Infrastructures, Health and Sanitation, Education, Peace and Security, Climate Change, Environment, and Disaster Management and Gender issues will also be addressed in the various sectors covered.
Hon. Seleso also revealed that the South Guadalcanal Development Plan is also in line with the government’s National Development Strategy 2016-2035.
He said that it is a document that will inspire and empower the rural society of South Guadalcanal to become more efficient and results-oriented, building connected communities with new development opportunities in the future. The development plan would help the rural population of the Constituency to understand how they can localize and put into action the plans into tangible development that can affect their lives positively.
TSI see this as the right approach and every MPs must consult their constituency and create a Constituency Development Plan, to ensure that all our Constituencies are duly developed and at the same time aligning such development activities to the National Development Strategy of the Solomon Islands government. TSI is happy to see a first time MP elected into parliament is doing something different from all the past and present MPs. This approach to map out development at the constituency level of South Guadalcanal surely will enable the government, donors and other stakeholders to have a clear direction of where they invest resources and money to improve the quality of life of those residing in the rural areas and also alleviate poverty.
The vision of the plan is to sustain a healthy and wealthy people with higher intellectual minds living happily in a peaceful, respected, coordinated, well-structured community in a conserved beautiful environment guided by their beliefs and traditional cultures.
Transparency Solomon Islands strongly believed that the Development Plan of the constituency will ensure all resources and funds allocated under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) or other sources of funding would be well accounted for in a transparent manner. TSI holds the view that through a Development Plan our constituencies will able to achieve tangible development in the rural communities and can feel the impact of funds intended for the constituencies through donor support and the government. Whilst TSI applaud this, TSI also call on the Ministry responsible to be vigilant and to ensure that all Constituencies submit their Development Plans to the Ministry as required by the CDF Act. The Act requires each Constituencies to submit their Constituency Development Plan to the Ministry for approval prior to the allocation of any funds. People will not know what development projects to apply for unless they know what is in the Development Plans. TSI also calls on all MPs to share with your constituent’s acquittal report on how CDF is used and whether any such Development Plans have been achieved or not. TSI applaud Hon. Seleso for taking this initial stand in putting in place a plan, as a road map to achieve plans for developing his Constituency and to transform the lives of his people through sustainable development in different sectors of the economy.