SOLOMONS HIGHLY AID-DEPENDENT: OPPOSITION LEADER
Solomon Islands is one of the most aid-dependent countries in the region and probably in the world, Leader of the Opposition Honorable Jeremiah Manele highlighted during his sine die speech in Parliament recently.
Mr Manele said whilst Solomon Islands will continue to need donor support in certain sectors such as education and health; it should not forever become an aid-dependent country.
He said otherwise it becomes a structural problem that will be difficult to get out of.
The MP for Hograno, Kia, Havulei said foreign aid must be used according to the country’s priorities and needs, adding that it must also be sustainable and be used in areas such as infrastructure that will drive economic growth to sustain the financing and delivery of essential social services to the people.
Mr Manele also warned that foreign aid is also a foreign policy tool used by donor countries to pursue their foreign policy objectives and interests.
He said sometimes these interests are mutual and sometimes they are not.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader said the onus is therefore on the Government of the day to bear in mind that foreign aid is part of the dynamics in the day to day management of the country’s bilateral and multilateral relations.
He said an important question to note is the amount of foreign aid being injected into the country’s economy.
Mr Manele said as a country we have the highest number of external consultants and advisors in the region and this is partly why it is highly aid-dependent.
He adds that for some donors a good share of their funding support is used to finance the technical advisors or consultants, who are part of the project or program being funded and most often are from the donor country itself.
Mr Manele said the country must be selective in engaging its donor partners.