The implementation of the Government’s Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) is on track and progressing.
This is according to Chairman of the ESP, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Mr. McKinnie Dentana.
According to Mr. Dentana, screening, approval and disbursement on the of top of the value chain of the production which includes exporters of key productive and resource sectors, injection into the 2 SOEs namely Solomon Airlines, and Soltuna, injection into DBSI and engagements of contractors to build certain identified infrastructures, has been completed.
Screening of applications from our rural farmers or at the local level of the value chain are currently ongoing and once finalised, approved recipients will be made aware through the media or other communication channels.
Meanwhile, six major copra buyers and exporters have been approved and paid together with alongside 15 major buyers and exporters of cocoa.
Another 20 local buyers of cocoa have also been approved and paid under the ESP a total of 1.1 Million dollars and 3 major buyers and exporters of Kava with a total of 4.2 million dollars.
The Chairman also revealed that six exporters of timber have also been approved and paid under the program with a total of 11.3 million dollars.
In addition, 71 companies and businesses have also been approved and paid their rental subsidies under the Rental Relief program of the ESP.
Mr. Dentana also stated that 4 schools namely Selwyn College, Betikama College, St. Joseph’s College, Tenaru and St. Martin’s Rural Training Centre were each given $400, 000.00 to support them in Agriculture and specifically Cassava farming.
Further, about 2. 3 million dollars was approved and paid for the engagement of women, youth and students to monitor the State of Emergency Regulation, especially with the Price Control Regulations and tax related information.
In his statement, the Chairman of the ESP also revealed that verification of several questionable applications is also a hindrance to the process.
According to Mr. Dentana, whilst the program targets mainly those businesses and farmers who are already up and running in their different sectors, there are a number of applications whose applications are obviously start-ups.
He stated that the screening committee is taking very seriously the verification process and are working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Constituency offices and other reliable sources to provide information on several applications that seem bogus.
The Chairman also, wishes to clarify that not all recipients will be paid the actual amount of grant support requested, and that not all recipients will receive financial support but will be supported with the necessary machineries and equipment.
The ESP Committee is committed to the successful delivery of the program in the interest of economic empowerment and rural development.