More than SBD198M for 2024 Elections
The government has allocated a budget of SBD 198,847,326 for Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) and the 2024 elections.
The budget will cater for the national, provincial and Honiara City Council (HCC) elections.
SBD75,622,858 has been allocated for BVR while SBD123,224,468 for elections.
Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) Finance Manager Reuben Rongomea told the local media recently that 89 percent of this budget will come from donor partners.
He said the government’s decision to hold the national, provincial and HCC elections on the same day (simultaneously) will save up to 49 percent of the budget.
“Synchronization of the elections is a big saving for the commission as it is much cheaper, conducting separate election for HCC, the provincial assemblies and national elections will cost the commission SBD143,871,168, conducting a simultaneous election will cost us SBD96,583,864 dollars,” Mr. Rongomea said.
SIEC has so far conducted three trials on holding the three elections simultaneously.
These are the by-elections for East Makira in 2019, South Choiseul in 2020 and West Kawio in 2022. All of these were deemed successful.
Chief Electoral Officer Jasper Anisi said a task force that has been appointed has concluded its consultations in the country’s nine provinces on holding the elections simultaneously.
“A report will be prepared by the taskforce to be presented to cabinet very soon, the taskforce has just recently completed consultation for Choiseul and Western province last month, there has being good feedbacks from the provincial assemblies, there’s a stronger sense of support from the provinces at the idea of having a synchronization of elections and they see it as a good thing, the only thing left is to meet with government senior officials and the members of parliament. ”
“The taskforce is working on it and a drafting instruction should be given to the Attorney General’s chambers shortly so we can have these laws changed in preparation for the elections,” Mr Anisi said.
SIEC assures the public that it is prepared to carry out the elections simultaneously next year.
Last year, the Australian Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, announced Australia’s offer to fund the 2023 election just before Parliament had approved the extension of Parliament until 2024.
Following the amendment to the Constitution, the elections will be held next year.
By Sharon Nanau