The Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Snyder Rini has defended the government’s use of Contingency Warrant to meet the costs of hosting the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit and the Solomon Islands sports contingent to the 15th Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.
Mr. Rini’s rebuttal follows claims by the Member of Parliament for Aoke Langalanga Matthew Wale on the use of Contingency Warrant for the two events.
Mr. Wale told the Public Accounts Committee hearing that the spending is illegal.
But, Mr. Rini said they use the Contingency Warrants to deal with unforeseen costs, not just unforeseen events.
He said the level of participation by other MSG member countries was higher than initially anticipated and similarly Solomon Islands’ participation in the 15th Pacific Games also exceeded the level initially planned due to national calls for strong participation by Solomon Islands.
He adds, the key point is to ensure Permanent Secretaries, as Accountable Officers, and Ministers to manage portfolios, take budgeting, planning and efficient execution of their budgets seriously.
The 2015 Appropriation Act, approved by the Parliament this year, authorised the Minister of Finance and Treasury to spend with the approval of the Cabinet of up to $70 million through the Contingency Warrant.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of Finance Harry Kuma also clarified that the Contingency Warrant expenditure to date in 2015 represents around one per cent of total the expenditure.
Mr Kuma said the Ministry is making every effort to ensure that these expenditures are met from within existing budgets.