“ESP should be implemented by responsible ministries”
The Economic Stimulus Package implementation shouldn’t be implemented by the Prime Minister’s office as being the highest office in the country, says MP for East Areare, Peter Kenilorea Junior.
Mr. Kenilorea said the PMO as the highest office that deserves to be respected.
He added, the office also has lots of work to do already in running the country’s affairs and should have given out implementation of the ESP to responsible ministries.
“For me, the initial move to have the ESP run by the Prime Ministers office was concerning”.
He said most of the projects are Agriculture based and supposed to be implemented by the responsible Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of fisheries.
“Responsible ministries should be implementing the ESP projects rollout because they have the data and work with the real genuine farmers as they have worked in the field for a long time,” he said.
He said the implementation processes transparency and accountability aspect is questionable.
He added, despite the ESP talk of robust monitoring, the ministry of agriculture and the ministry of finance should be the main ministries behind the ESP project, those two working together in creating sub-committees would be the best way to deliver the ESP funds Hon Kenilorea said.
“When it comes to money, one of the big things we always have to put in place is the right mechanism, in this case, it is public money so there are certain laws and regulations that we need to follow to ensure accountability and transparency,” he said.
Payment distribution of the ESP is not filtered through the government ministries.
Ministries only provide inputs to the ESP committee and put forward sectors in which the ESP should spend money on.
Robson Djokovic Chief of Staff to the prime minister and member of the ESP committee said during the ESP press conference last month that the ESP is not directed through the ministries to avoid long bureaucracy processes, instead funds are directed straight to businesses that are approved by the committee after screening.
“One of the aspect the ESP is trying to achieve is the direct input of money into the economy, this is about short term support to sustain our economy in terms of short term returns as we experience the economic growth, bypassing conventional institution because of bureaucracy and also corruption by streamlining the whole process it is easier to work with,” Mr. Djokovic said.
Bureaucracy acts as checks and balances for the government to go without the one would be a problem Hon Kenilorea said.
“Bureaucracy is there for a reason like accountability and transparency on process, these are reasons as to which extra care has to be taken as the duty of care fall on the government in terms of the funds usage, the argument to cut bureaucracy is not a strong one, to avoid that would bring a lot of questions” he said.
Meanwhile, Transparency Solomon Islands Chief Executive Officer Ms. Ruth Liloqula said the delay in the publication of the official lists shows that accountability and transparency are not upheld in some aspects of the ESP processes.
“There’s something fishy going on and in some cases, we know there’s something going on at the same time the ministry of finance and treasury needs a more experienced permanent secretary, from the responses coming from the PS it shows there is not much experience from him.”
All the explanations given by the PS and the ESP committee especially with the imprest doesn’t ring true for those who have experience and know the public service inside out Ms. Liloqula said.
The Chairman of the ESP committee and Permanent Secretary of Finance Makinnie Dentanna revealed during the oversight committee talkback show recently that the official list of the ESP recipients will be published this week.
by Sharon Nanau