New CDF Act enforced

New CDF Act enforced


The new Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) Act 2023 passed by Parliament last month (22 December) comes into full force today – 5th January 2024. 

This was after the Governor General of Solomon Islands Sir David Vunagi assented it and it was signed by Minister for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Hon. Duddley Kopu on 30th December 2023.

A Gazette legal notice declaring the CDF Act 2023 coming into force was already published on 30th December 2023 by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC). It replaced the CDF Act 2013. 

With new strict measures in the new legislation, there is confidence of a much-improved delivery of services under the CDF program starting this year and onwards.

The passing of the CDF Bill 2023 into an Act by Parliament and its gazetting into a law was a landmark achievement for our country, Solomon Islands in terms of strengthening the governance of one of the much-criticized public funds in the history of our independent state and also answered the cries of many Solomon Islanders who wishes to see continuation of the CDF Program under an improved management and good governance practices.  

The new law will cater for the administration and regulation of CDF, specifically to strengthen good governance; ensure improved and effective delivery mechanisms of CDF and promote equal and inclusive participation of all Solomon Islanders in development.

This was a historical achievement for the then Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) through the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) which commenced the CDF reform work in August last year (2022) through a nationwide series of stakeholder consultations, spanning the national, provincial, and rural/community levels to gather invaluable insights for the formulation of the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy 2023-2032, review of the CDF Act 2013 and the drafting of instructions for the CDF Act 2023.

Unlike the CDF Act 2013, the new CDF Act 2023 recognized partnership and also provides for heavy penalties.

The new law, amongst other things, confine Members of Parliament to their role as lawmakers, while providing an oversight to the implementation of the CDF program.

Under the CDF Act 2023, most of the responsibilities in the implementation of the CDF program has been delegated to public servants, constituency committees and the people.

While the ministry (MRD) recognizes the fact that the CDF Act 2023 will not solve many of the underlying development challenges that our country faces, the new law provides a platform for the proper governance of the CDF program as a potential tool among many, to roll out development in the rural communities. 

Some major changes expected under the CDF Act 2023 are;

  • The new Act has three purposes and two principles, unlike the CDF Act 2013 that has none. 
  • Constituencies will work in close partnership with Donor partners for alignment and coordination purposes.
  • Constituencies will have constituency development committees to make decisions on the CDF program for their respective constituencies with two females as members of the committee.
  • A constituency is only eligible to receive funds if it has a development officer and an accountant officer.
  • Constituency officers will be recruited on merit basis through the Public Service Commission.
  • Establishment of constituency development growth centres as vehicles to roll out decentralization of government services and development activities in the rural areas. 
  • Project recipients are required to sign legally binding agreements for safe and upkeep of materials and infrastructures funded through CDF. 
  • Signatory to constituency accounts is no longer with Members of Parliament but public officers. 
  • Ownership of Constituency assets purchased under public funds will remain with the ministry for ease of continuation of development programs.
  • Allocations and utilizations of funds is more toward economic sectors without neglecting the essential services and other areas. For instance, 40% to productive and resource sectors, 20% to essential services, another 20% to cross sectorial and inclusivity and final 20% to social and cultural obligations.
  • The social and cultural obligations include medical assistance, repatriation of deceased and natural disasters. 
  • Requirement for annual disclosure of financial and implementation reports on the CDF program through an annual constituency conference where constituents are present to scrutinize the reports.
  • Procurement is strictly according to the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act 2013 and advancing of materials without Local Purchase Order (LPO) is prohibited.
  • Regular auditing.
  • Severe penalties in the CDF Act 2023 that apply to all including MPs, public servants and recipients. 
  • Overall, the Bill ensures alignment to PFM Act 2013 and upholds the principles of separation of powers under the national constitution of Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of MRD Dr Samson Viulu said, “with the CDF Act 2023 coming into force, the ministry gave credit to the strong leadership of the Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and Minister for Rural Development Hon. Duddley Kopu for skilfully crafting the successful passage of the Act. 

“The CDF Act 2023 is dedicated to the rural people of Solomon Islands who have contributed a lot through the various consultations with assurance that most of the contents of the new Act were inputs from the people in the rural areas. 

“The Ministry is also grateful to all the former fifty Members of Parliament for their varying degree of support toward the Enactment of the CDF Act 2023 through Parliament and for listening to the cries of the rural people of Solomon Islands,” PS Viulu said.  

The elated PS, Viulu also conveyed a special thank you to UNDP Solomon Islands Office, for the funding support toward the CDF reform that culminated in the CDF Act 2023.


MRD Media

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