Malaita Premier Suidani has called the Central government to immediately double the provincial grants for all Provinces beginning in early 2022.
Suidani made this call in response to the announcement by PM Sogavare that the timeline was set for federal state system.
“We have all heard this statement before. In fact in 2016, Sogavare signed the Honiara Communique with the nine premiers, for the federal system of government. But 5 years later and with many sweet promises there is zero progress on. This must not happen again.”
Suidani emphasised the autonomy or federal system is no easy task, and that provinces need to build up capacity immediately.
“Provinces need immediate increase in capacity. This needs funding. This needs to start now.
“I call on the Central government to immediately double the 2021 service grants and then also implement revenue sharing with the provinces.”
“All the provinces need immediate double in budget in first quarter 2022, and also implementation of a revenue sharing formula in second quarter of 2022.”
“We also need donor support for developing our systems, especially from other federal and decentralised countries like USA and Australia.”
“Also the UN has been very helpful in developing the federal constitution and should also be seen as having a big role in preparing the future autonomous states of Solomon Islands.”
Suidani says the excuse of limited money should not be used. “MPs have been getting more and more money at the expense of the provinces and the ministries. This trend is getting worse and worse. If there is true commitment to a new system, the funds need to be given direct to the provinces and future states. There should be no delay or budget excuses.”