The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is currently working on establishing Solomon Islands’ first-ever Constituency Development Policy.
The Constituency Development Policy will assist the Ministry as the main channel through which the CDF can address some of the issues highlighted here;
- The ministry does not have an existing development policy to guide the proper governance and management of the CDF
- Lack of regulatory framework on the good governance of the CDF and CDF law 2013.
- Continued heavy reliance on parliamentarians and the CDF by voters.
- Inconsistent and unsustainable income generating activities in constituencies.
- Absence of basic socio-economic infrastructure in the constituencies.
- Virtual absence of government services in the production and resource sectors at the constituency level.
- Irregular transport services from urban centers to rural areas.
- Lack of quality education at the constituency level.
- Poor access to quality health care for most rural dwellers.
- Problems of water supply and adequate sanitation in the majority of rural communities.
- Lack of guidelines to orient constituencies on priority areas in which to allocate limited resources under the CDF.
MRD Permanent Secretary Dr. Samson Viulu said the Constituency Development Policy aims to guide how development should take root in all constituencies through the CDF implementation mechanisms and in collaboration with the competent ministries.
“The new development policy will place greater emphasis on the productive and resource sectors, including essential services, to solve the problems and challenges faced daily by people in rural areas, and thus activate an additional percentage of the productive population to contribute to national income economy.
“The policy will also strengthen collaboration between the MRD and line ministries to bring needed government services closer to rural populations,” PS Viulu said.
- decentralize government services and delineate the duties and responsibilities of constituencies under the MRD,
- identify and prioritize limited resources to priority areas of intervention,
- Rationalization of planning and management processes.
- strengthen M&E and subsequent governance of public funds used by the ministry through constituencies,
- ownership of property and machinery purchased on behalf of constituencies,
- Establishment of appropriate governance structures at ward, ward and community levels and
- Effective partnerships with everyone, both in the public and private sectors, nationally and/or internationally, to create safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities by 2035.
“In fact, since the inception of the ministry in 2008, four ministers and permanent secretaries, including the incumbent, have served in the undeveloped ministry to guide constituencies on resource allocation based on identified priority areas.
“But with specific instructions from political leaders to amend the existing CDF law to decentralize government services closer to all our rural areas, especially at the constituency level, the Ministry of Rural Development has embarked on the elaboration Constituency Development Policy for the Solomon Islands,” PS Viulu pointed out.
He added that once completed and approved by Cabinet, it will become the first-ever constituency development-focused policy in the Solomon Islands.
“The policy’s vision is to create safe, clean, healthy, friendly, peaceful and vibrant rural communities across the Solomon Islands by 2035.
“The policy will also provide additional guidance to the reforms proposed on the CDF law 2013, in particular the establishment of a regulatory framework.
“The views of the public at large, including rural populations, will be collected through consultations and a draft policy will be circulated to all relevant stakeholders for their valuable inputs,” the permanent secretary said.
A task force has been established within the Ministry, led by the Deputy Technical Secretary and the Director of Governance in conjunction with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPMC) to lead policy development efforts with a target date of completion by October 2022.
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