Seleso Keen to Lead MRD, Aims for Rural Empowerment

Seleso Keen to Lead MRD, Aims for Rural Empowerment

By Simon Tavake

As the formation of the country’s new government has been completed with all ministerial portfolios being filled up, it is time to get down to business.

While most of the Ministers are slowly settling into their new environments after being sworn in last weekend, it is a time for reflection for those who retained their previous ministerial portfolios, while a few are embarking on their mandated duties as ministers.

Among them is the newly appointed Minister for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Hon. Rollen Seleso.

Earlier this week, Minister Seleso initiated his official engagements with a courtesy meeting with His Excellency Cai Weiming, the Chinese Ambassador to the Solomon Islands.

They discussed the exceptional relationship and common partnership that the Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have shared over the past five years and discussed their mutual priorities for years ahead.

Furthermore, Minister Seleso officiated the handover ceremony of water supply and sanitation projects funded by the PRC under the Rural Sustainable Development Program (RSDP) to two communities in the South Guadalcanal Constituency.

In an interview with SIBC news, the Two-time Member of Parliament for South Guadalcanal Constituency expressed his excitement for his new role, stating his readiness to fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to him.

“It’s a new ministry for me and it will be challenging to take up this new appointment.

“It’s going to be tough because there are fifty constituencies to look after, and there’s a lot involved.

“But I trust that with the help of the MRD team and their know-how in different areas of the ministry, we can make sure that progress and services reach all fifty constituencies,” Hon. Seleso said.

He emphasized that this approach could lead to positive views from donors about how funds are being used.

The core mandate of the MRD is to oversee the effective planning and implementation of Government’s Rural Development Policy under Legal Notice 164 in accordance with the Constitution of Solomon Islands.

Its vision is to ensure all rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihood.

In the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA), Mr. Seleso served as the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS).

Like the Ministry of Rural Development, MPGIS aims to improve services provided by provincial governments to meet the needs of rural people and enhance living conditions in rural communities.

“I’ve noticed that my new ministry is quite similar to MPGIS. In the Ministry of Provincial Government, we deliver infrastructure projects to provinces through the PCDF (Provincial Capacity Development Fund) program, and we also implement income-generating programs for communities.

“Now, we’ll be doing the same thing, but instead of working with provinces, we’ll be directly engaging with the 50 constituencies,” explained Hon. Seleso.

In December last year, the 11th Parliament passed the new Constituency Development Fund 2023, which became fully effective in January of this year.

The purposes of the new CDF Act 2023 include strengthening good governance, to ensure improved and effective delivery mechanisms of the Constituency Development Funds and promoting equal and inclusive participation of all Solomon Islanders in development.

With this new act in place, the new Minister of the MRD expressed confidence that it will facilitate the delivery of development projects and services to the constituencies.

Reflecting on his past tenure, the MRD Minister shared some of the achievements he had accomplished during his time with the Ministry of Provincial Government.

He extended his best wishes to his successor, expressing confidence that he would carry on from where he had left.

“I was proud to serve as the Minister for Provincial Government in the previous administration. We achieved a lot, though there are still tasks left like changing the Provincial Act and passing the revenue bill.

“I believe my colleague, the new Minister for Provincial Government, will do a great job. His professional background will be useful in his new role,” said Minister for Rural Development Hon. Rollen Seleso.

The Ministry of Rural Development aims to empower rural communities in the Solomon Islands by facilitating infrastructure projects and enhancing service delivery through initiatives like the Constituency Development Fund.


Share This