BASIC government services in education, health and infrastructure have continued to deteriorate over the last few years as the cost of living has worsened.
Opposition Leader Hon Matthew Wale highlighted during his speech in response to the Governor General’s speech to the throne in Parliament on Wednesday.
Hon Wale said this is a result of an economy based on the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources reeling from years of recklessness and corruption.
“Education has become more expensive with less classroom space over this period. The scholarship programme for tertiary level has been in a state of flux for too long,” Hon Wale said.
The Opposition Leader said the risk is that education, rather than a right for all Solomon Islanders, becomes another economic good only for those who can afford it.
He said the haves get more education; the have-nots drop out and continue in the cycle of poverty.
Hon Wale adds health remains another area of great concern.
The Opposition Leader said although budget allocations to the health sector have gradually increased since 2019, health outcomes are not what we hoped for.
“This sector seems to thrive in moving from one crisis to another. Of course, there is no denying the impact of Covid-19 on this sector,” he said.
However, he said Covid-19 should not be the excuse for incompetence and the negligence that has resulted in what seems to be a regular cycle of drugs shortages at our hospitals and clinics, the lack of appropriate numbers of beds at the National Referral Hospital and the neglect of staff welfare issues.
In terms of Infrastructure, Hon Wale said this sector requires a relatively large budget allocation.
He said currently the outputs & outcomes in this sector do not match the level of expenditure.
The Opposition Leader said poorly constructed infrastructure seems to have become the standard, the norm.
“Wharves that stand out at sea with no attachment to land, bridges that stand awkwardly in the middle of rivers, roads that have received millions that have increased potholes to show for the investment, exaggerated & excessive contracting are some of the issues besetting this sector,” he said.
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