A prominent lawyer and former member of Parliament (MP) had warned if the budget was defeated and not passed by Parliament it would lead to social and financial problems for this country.
Andrew Nori yesterday raised his concern after hearing news that the national budget was likely to be defeated.
“This must be of concern to all Solomon Islanders because if that unlikely scenario materialises, it will not cause a Constitutional crisis as some members of Parliament (MPs) are saying (the Constitution remains intact,) but rather it will lead to social and financial chaos,” he said.
“The concern is that without approved appropriation legislation for the year, no money will be paid out of the consolidated fund,” he said.
He pointed out that this meant that public officers would not be paid, including administrators, teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses and infrastructure workers.
“Members of Parliament, too, will not be paid as well as members of provincial assemblies,” he said.
Mr Nori said there were more than 12,700 public servants out there surviving on government salaries and wages.
“There will be no money to fund student studies and there are about 300 tertiary students that depend on SIG funded scholarships.
“There will be no money to purchase supplies for our schools, clinics and to operate essential services,” he said.
He added also to be seriously affected is the Government loan servicing to domestic and overseas creditors.
“Overseas loans will not be serviced on time, thus increasing our nation’s indebtedness in both arrears on principal loans and interests.
“Landlords whose houses are being rented by the government will not be paid, leading to mass eviction of occupants, thus adding to the chaos.
“The social and financial repercussions will be widespread and felt in all corners of the society,” he said.
He further noted that if the staff at Customs and at Inland Revenue did not get paid they would not be willing to collect revenue from import and export duties as well as from inland revenue tax.
“The men and women at Custom and Excise may not even be willing to clear incoming and outgoing foreign shipping, causing havoc at our ports of Noro and Honiara or at logging ports around Solomon Islands.
“We all know that when people do not get paid, their wives, husbands, children and dependants go hungry.
“When people are hungry, they become angry. They may take to the streets in mass protests, adding unnecessary pressures on the current law and order situation,” he said.
He cautioned that any public protests would draw in opportunists, the looters, the racists and the hooligans.
“The RSIPF and PPF combined do not have the resources to counter such a mass unrest,” Mr Nori said.
“If the Budget is opposed and fails to pass, it will solely be because of personal dislikes for Danny Philip and his Government.
“But passing or not passing the budget is not about Danny Philip and his supporters in government – it is about the welfare of the entire Solomon Islands state and its people,” he said.
The former politician said the right thing MPs should do is to pass the budget.
“The sensible thing for MPs to do is to enact and pass the 2011 Appropriation Bill 2011 and deal with the motion of no confidence afterwards.
“After all, the budget will only run from April to December 2011,” he said.
He said for the following year, the new government, if there is one, may develop its new budget framework and have it passed in December 2011.
By MOFFAT MAMU
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