MRD Embarks on a New Rural Development Policy
The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is currently working on establishing the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development Policy.
The constituency development policy will assist the ministry as the main conduit for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to address some of the issues on;
- Ministry has no existing development policy to guide the proper governing and management of the CDF
- Lack of a regulatory framework on the proper governance of the CDF and the CDF Act 2013.
- Continuous high dependency on members of parliament and the CDF by constituents.
- Inconsistent and unsustainable income generating activities in the constituencies.
- Absence of basic socio economic infrastructures in the constituencies.
- Near-absence of government services in the productive and resource sectors at the constituency level.
- Irregular transport services from urban centres to rural areas.
- Lack of quality education at the constituency level.
- Poor access to quality health by most rural dwellers.
- Water supply and proper sanitation challenges in the majority of rural communities.
- Lack of guidelines to direct constituencies on what priority areas to allocate limited resources under the CDF.
MRD Permanent Secretary Dr. Samson Viulu said the constituency development policy is intended to guide how development should take root in all constituencies through the CDF implementation mechanisms and in collaboration with relevant line ministries.
“The new development policy will make more emphasis in the productive and resource sectors including essential services to address the issues and challenges faced daily by rural dwellers thereby activating an additional percentage of the productive population to contribute to the national revenue consequently grow our local and national economy.
The policy will also enhance collaboration between MRD and line ministries to bring needed government services much closer to the rural people,” PS Viulu said.
- decentralizing government services and demarcating duties and responsibilities of constituencies under the MRD,
- identifying and prioritizing limited resources to priority focus areas,
- Streamlining planning and management processes.
- strengthening M&E and subsequent governance of public funds utilized by the ministry through constituencies,
- ownership of properties and machineries purchased in the name of constituencies,
- Establishment of proper governing structures at the constituency, ward and community levels and
- Effective partnerships with everyone both in the public and private sectors either nationally and or internationally to achieve safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities by 2035.
“In fact, since the inception of the Ministry in 2008, four Ministers and Permanent Secretaries including the incumbent have served in the ministry without a development pathway to guide constituencies on allocation of resources according to identified priority areas.
But with specific instructions from the political leaders to amend the existing CDF Act to decentralize government services by bringing them closer to all our rural areas particularly at the constituency level, the ministry of rural development has embarked on developing the constituency development policy for Solomon Islands,” PS Viulu emphasized.
He further said that once completed and approved by Cabinet, it shall become the first ever policy focusing on constituency development in Solomon Islands.
“Vision of the policy is to achieve safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities all throughout Solomon Islands by 2035.
The policy will also provide further guidance to the proposed reforms on the CDF Act 2013 particularly the establishment of a regulatory framework.
Views from the wider public including from rural folks will be gathered through consultations and a policy working draft will be distributed to all the relevant stakeholders for their invaluable inputs,” the Permanent Secretary said.
A task force was established in the ministry spearheaded by the Deputy Secretary Technical and Director Governance in collaboration with Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) to lead efforts on developing the policy with a target date of completion by October 2022.
Source: MRD Press Release