MRD Clarifies Payout
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Dr. Samson Viulu, clarified in an exclusive interview with SIBC News on Friday, January 5th, that the article recently published on the front page of the Solomon Star Newspaper is only partly true.
On Wednesday this week, the Solomon Star featured a front-page article titled ‘415 million Payout,’ claiming that funds totaling $415 million under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) were disbursed to the 50 Members of Parliament at the end of 2023.
Permanent Secretary Viulu, while confirming the payout, clarified that only 340 million dollars were paid by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) under the CDF program for the financial year ending 2023.
He further explained that the 75 million dollars under the Rural Sustainable Development Program (RSPD), which was also claimed to have been disbursed, are still with the Ministry.
He emphasized that the RSPD is a new program funded by China and is not an automatic funding mechanism like CDF, where all constituencies are legally entitled.
“In fact, the RSPD is available to both the public and private sectors. Anyone can apply for the funding and based on the proposals and assessments by the Ministry, the MRD will make decisions to award projects to recipients based on technical evaluations,” Dr. Viulu clarified.
Meanwhile, the newly passed Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act of 2023 has now been enforced, starting on January 5, 2024, following assent by the Governor General, Sir David Vunagi.
A legal notice declaring that the Act is coming into force was published in a gazette on December 30, 2023.
Dr. Samson Viulu confirmed that a nationwide awareness campaign to inform the public about their respective roles as outlined in the new CDF Act of 2023 is planned to begin this month and will run for two years.
By Alex Dadamu