CDF: Constituent are in the dark - Solomon Star News

CDF: Constituent are in the dark

28 August 2015

THERE is great need for openness and transparency in the use of Constituency Development Fund.

Why CDF information continued to be left in the dark is a painful reality to people in the rural communities.

It is for their sake that this additional layer of service delivery apart from the central and provincial government system was established at the first place with the objective to help communities to generate income, encourage development and generally improve the livelihoods of people at the rural areas.

However, Transparency Solomon Islands under its Constituency Development Funds Community Consultation & Assessment Project has already conducted workshops in 12 Constituencies in three provinces (Guadalcanal, Honiara and Western Province) and we’ve heard and see for ourselves that CDF information is lacking in the rural areas.

It is their call that Members of Parliament, Constituency Development Officer (CDO), Constituency Project Officer (CPO), Constituency Accountant (CA) and relevant agencies like the Ministry of Rural Development must do the right thing to go down to them and inform them on what is their constituency development plan, what project is available to them so as they can apply, how much is allocated per constituency and how this fund was distributed and managed in their constituency.

This information if made available to constituents in the rural areas is very crucial for them to be informed and effectively participate in the social and economic development of their community, constituency and the country as a whole.

Because if we look at the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) Budget for this year, a total of $333 Million was allocated for CDF, a sum of 6.6 million dollars per Constituency.

This is a very huge substantives amount of money that has the potential to un-lock social and economical development in the rural communities.

This is no-secret to our Legislators and the Government. 

The Government fully acknowledge the fact that the majority of our population resides in rural areas that is why they developed the policy on Rural Economic Development with its objectives focusing on two key areas :

1) To provide an enabling environment to stimulate economic growth, especially in the rural areas.

 2) Address and meet the basic needs of people in the rural areas.

In the implementation of the Rural Economic Development Policy, the Government through the Ministry of Rural Development and in partnership with the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) will bring about a comprehensive, well-structured and coordinated rural economic development program throughout all fifty constituencies.

An integral part of the Rural Economic Development Policy requires the formulation of Constituency Profiles and the development of Constituency Development Plans for each Constituency.

The two documents are very important documents for planning and development for each constituency especially the Constituency Development Plan which should contain the development aspirations of individual constituency and their people and so becomes the basis of which Government development assistance through the Constituency Development Funds can address and meet the basic needs of people in the rural areas.

This is very comprehensive and strategic, but what is silent therein is to inform the people in the rural areas who will be the major partner to this development plan.

Also, in the Rural Economic Development Policy it fails to give detail on how MP’s roles will play a crucial role to this plan.

Because, in actual facts it is the MPs and their constituency officers who are in the front-line to administered and implemented the CDF and facilitate transaction, not the MRD or MDPAC.

A simple example is the CDO who are appointed to MRD by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and report directly to the Director of MRD. In practice, they report to their respective MP and can be dismissed by them as well, not the PSC.

Thus, it’s about time to do the right thing and help our people in the rural area to be informed, so as they can actively participate and attain social and economical development as intended by the CDF monies.