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Parliament is adjourned to Monday 5th December

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Parliamentary Strengthening Project

 

THURSDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2016

Parliament meeting is further adjourned to Monday 5th December 2016 to give time for the public Accounts Committee to scrutinize the 2017 Appropriation Bill 2016.

Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Maelanga moved the motion of special adjournment.

He said that’s the only reason for this adjournment.

Leader of Opposition, Hon. Jeremiah Manele thanked the Acting Prime Minister for moving the motion.

He said it is important for the sake of transparency and accountability that the committee takes the opportunity to scrutinize all the budgets for all the Ministries.

He also thanked the Minister of Finance for availing budget documents which are now before the Committee.

The leader, however, encourage all ministers to remind their Permanent Secretaries and Financial Controllers to turn up on time as scheduled so that PAC do not have any further delays in the inquiries.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Rick Hou also thanked and acknowledge the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance for considering the Committee’s letter of request to government to give more time for these inquiries.

He said the time given for PAC to do its work is adequate and PAC has begun inquiries on Monday the 21st.

Meanwhile, the 2017 Appropriation Bill 2016 goes through the first reading today. The other bill that also goes through first reading is the, ‘Ombudsman Bill 2016.’

Parliament’s adjournment to Monday 5th Dec 2016 is the third adjournment in a row for this particular meeting.

MONDAY 21ST NOVEMBER 2016

pac
Public Accounts Committee

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee will begin public hearings into 2017 Budget on Monday, beginning with the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and then the Ministry of Finance and Treasury on Day One.

Under Parliamentary Standing Orders, the Public Accounts Committee reviews the Budget on behalf of the Parliament, and reports back on issues and challenges that it finds.

This year, every Ministry will appear before the Committee over the coming 10 days.
Part of the process will be to understand key economic indicators for the Solomon Islands, including why growth is expected to be 3.25% in 2017, why 3% inflation, why nominal GDP has fallen to 5.6%, why Government is looking at record revenue collections of $3.5 billion, why a deficit budget of $179 million is proposed, and why a continued freeze on public sector staffing applies.

The Committee is expected to report to Parliament before the end of the month, and will be meeting daily until the task is complete.

ENDS///

FRIDAY 18TH NOVEMBER 2016

Parliament at its resumption on Monday 14th November 2016 is again adjourned to Tuesday 22nd November 2016.

Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare moved the motion of special adjournment based on the following reasons;

  • To give ample time for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to do its oversight role in scrutinizing the 2017 Appropriation Bill 2016.
  • A number of questions that were put on notice by the opposition for the government to answer were still pending thus the PM is urging the opposition to raise them again in order for the government to have time to provide explanations.
  • To allow the Bills Committee to complete their other tasks as well as inquiry on other upcoming bills that are brought before them.

This was the second time the Prime Minister had moved a motion of special adjournment since the final meeting resumed. The first adjournment was on Tuesday the 1st of November where it was adjourned to Monday 14th November.

The first special adjournment was for similar reasons. That is to allow the Bills and Legislation Committee to conduct its hearings into the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Land Surveyors Bill 2016, the Adoption Bill 2016, Pacific games 2023 Bill 2016, Child and family welfare Bill 2016 and the Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Authority Bill 2016.

It is understood that the Wildlife Protection and Management (Amendment) Bill 2016 was read the first time on the floor of Parliament and is also awaiting scrutiny process by the Bills and Legislation Committee.

THURSDAY 17TH NOVEMBER 2016

The newly appointed Deputy Clerk, Mr. David Kusilifu
The newly appointed Deputy Clerk, Mr. David Kusilifu.

The Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands Hon. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu has duly welcome the newly appointed Deputy Clerk to Parliament Mr David Kusilifu when Parliament resumed on Monday the 14th Nov 2016.

Mr Kusilifu received his appointment to the position on the 4th Nov 2016.

The Speaker in making his opening statement on Monday the 14th November welcomed Mr Kusilifu to his new appointment.

“Present in the chamber today assisting the Chair is the newly appointed Deputy Clerk to the National Parliament Mr David Kusilifu,” Mr Nasiu announced on the floor of Parliament at its resumption on Monday 14th November 2016, before the Prime Minister move the motion of special adjournment.

This was Kusilifu’s first chamber duties since undertaking his new appointment as Deputy Clerk few weeks ago.

However, Mr Kusilifu is no stranger to the administration of the National Parliament Office.

He first join Parliament in 2006 as a Committee Secretary under the auspices of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project.

He was then appointed the Director of Committees in 2010 and two years later was appointed Director of Parliamentary Procedures.

Obviously, Mr Kusilifu is well versed with our Parliamentary Democratic process and the procedures in our Parliament.

Mr Kusilifu became the first National Project Manager for the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project in 2013, the last post he held at the National Parliament before he went for further studies in New Zealand.

He currently holds a Masters Degree in Public Management from the Victoria University of Wellington and a Diploma in Legislative drafting.

WEDNESDAY 16TH NOVEMBER2016

Provincial Public Accounts Committees of Temotu, Makira, and Guadalcanal, posing for a photo with Speaker of the National Parliament (center, front row) and Clerk  to National Parliament (centre, back row)and PS for MPGIS sitting far right ( front row). (Note: At the time of group photo Central PPAC was not present)
Provincial Public Accounts Committees of Temotu, Makira, and Guadalcanal, posing for a photo with Speaker of the National Parliament (center, front row) and Clerk to National Parliament (centre, back row)and PS for MPGIS sitting far right ( front row). (Note: At the time of group photo Central PPAC was not present).

The first batch of 33 Provincial Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) members, Clerks and Speakers from nine Provinces were awarded attendance certificates by the Hon. Speaker of the National Parliament Hon. Ajilon Nasiu and the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening Hon. David Tome on Thursday 10th November for completing a four day workshop on strengthening Public Accounts Committees.

The four day intensive workshop was jointly held by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening the National Parliament Office.

The first leg of the training comprised 33 members of Provincial Public Accounts Committees,Clerks and Speakers, ranging from Makira Ulawa, Temotu, Central and Guadalcanal Provinces took place from 7th – 10th November in Honiara.

The training aimed at equipping members of PPACs in various aspects of conducting effective inquiries and critically analyzing and scrutinizing provincial budgets that is normally prepared by the Provincial Executive as a requirement under the Provincial Government Act 1997 and the existing Provincial Standing Orders.

In his remarks during the workshop, the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Hon. David Tome, underlined the need for increased recognition of provincial PACs by all provincial executives because of the PAC role in ensuring continuous legislative oversight.

The Minister also thanked the National Parliament Speaker for his continuous commitment to capacity building of provincial PACs.

He cited the capacity building support that National Parliament has been coordinating with the MPGIS since 2008.

The Minister urged the National Parliament Office (NPO) and the MPGIS for greater coordination in capacity building for elected MPAs and assured the Speaker of his Ministry’s continuous collaboration with staff of National Parliament and other stakeholders in capacity development initiatives.

During the official opening, the Speaker of National Parliament, Hon. Ajilon Nasiu, assured the provincial governments of NPO’s continued support in capacity building.

He described the long years of working relationship between the two institutions as very fruitful in promoting financial accountability at the provincial level.

The Speaker urged the workshop participants to concentrate on the training so as to be well equipped for their future role as members of provincial assembly standing committee of PAC.

The 2016 training for PAC members is focused on giving hands on training to PAC members by getting them involved in more practical exercises and role plays. The training also covered the nature of Parliamentary Committees and how they work, the Privileges and protection of PAC members.

The four day training was delivered by the Committee Secretariat Department, Civic Education Department and Procedures Department of National Parliament Office, the staff of MPGIS and the Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme of MPGIS.

The second batch of 40 PAC members begin their training on the 14th Nov and will conclude on the 17th of NOV 2016.

FRIDAY 11ST NOVEMBER 2016

Front row( left to right: Clerk to National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Mr. Clezy Rore, Speaker to national Parliament of SI, Hon. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu,  Distinguished facilitator from the World bank Group, Mr Mitchell and Pacific PAC Chairs and members including Solomon Islands.
Front row( left to right: Clerk to National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Mr. Clezy Rore, Speaker to national Parliament of SI, Hon. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu, Distinguished facilitator from the World bank Group, Mr Mitchell and Pacific PAC Chairs and members including Solomon Islands.

A meeting of Pacific Network of Public Accounts Committees (PaNPAC) to exchange information and ideas to enable them to keep up to date with important developments, changing standards and best practices as they emerged ended successfully in Honiara on Wednesday the 9th November 2016.

The meeting brought together a total of 8 Hon. Members from Pacific Public Accounts Committees including Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and a facilitator from the World Bank.

Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Ajilon Jasper Nasiu in his welcome remarks said he is certain this meeting will provide an avenue for inclusive contributions, discussions, presentations and knowledge sharing, which gears towards promoting parliamentary democracy and financial oversight in our pacific region.

“I do hope you will enjoy the three days program and find it enriching, profitable, and thought – provoking and rewarding,” Hon. Ajilon said.

“During this workshop, I also hope that you will all take this opportunity to learn and observe from institutions that support our PAC,” he added.

Hon Ajilon appreciate this meeting as he sees it as an avenue PACs can facilitate the exchange of information, opinion and experiences relating to PACs and to discuss matters of mutual interest to the members of PaNPAC.

Clerk to National Parliament of Solomon Islands Mr Clezy Rore also made remarks on behalf of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Akbar Khan.

Mr Rore said the CPA Secretary General has been encouraged to learn how the region is seeking to implement the enduring political values of the Commonwealth such as:

  • Just and honest government
  • The alleviation of poverty
  • Fundamental human rights
  • International peace and order
  • Global economic development
  • The rule of law
  • Equal rights and representation for all citizens regardless of gender
  • The separation of powers and;
  • The right to participate in free and fair elections amongst others

He said the CPA deems it of the utmost importance that the above values are underpinned by the separation of powers when it comes to the relationship between the three branches of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

“In their respective spheres, they are the guarantors of the rule of law, the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and the country’s adherence to good governance,” he said.

In this regard, he informed members that CPA has been working tirelessly to strengthen Parliament’s oversight functions over the executive as committees and their role of overseeing governments and agencies play a crucial role in this process.

This does specifically apply to the oversight process of whether public funds are spent effectively and honestly.

“This is why in today’s modern democracies, enabled and well-resourced Public Accounts Committees are of the utmost importance.

In fact, Professor Peter Hennessy, an English historian and academic specializing in the history of government from the Queen Mary University of London describes PACs as the “ the Queen of the select committees which by its very existence exerts a cleansing effect in all government departments,” he further added.

Meanwhile Mr Rore said this meeting builds on the outcomes of the PaNPAC meeting in Wellington, New Zealand in August 2015.

The meeting ends yesterday the 9th of November 2016.

THURSDAY 3RD NOVEMBER 2016

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands is hosting the 3rd Meeting of the Pacific Regional Network of Public Accounts Committees (PaNPAC) from the 7th to 9th November 2016.

This meeting intends to build on the initial PaNPAC meetings in New Zealand and Fiji in order to strengthen the learning partnership of PACs in the region.

It expects to bring together a total of seventeen PAC Chairpersons and Members from the Pacific Region.

The PaNPAC Regional Network Meeting aims to:

(i) Identify where in the region we are seeing the application of good practices
(ii) Explore how we can learn from each other’s successes and failures; and
(iii) Build consensus as to what progress looks like – for individual jurisdictions and the region as a whole

In addition, members will take the opportunity of being in the Solomon Islands to hear from different institutions that support PAC, such as the Auditor General,

Contractor General and representatives from the media and/or a civil society organization.

The outcome of the meeting should guide participants and facilitators to see where these partnerships can be strengthened, what are the opportunities, what gets in the way, what opportunities are there to engage with other regional networks and community of practice, such as the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI).

PaNPAC was inaugurated in 2015, as a peer platform for networking amongst Parliamentary Finance Committees of the region and this is its 3rd meeting.

It held its first meeting in 2014 in Samoa and the second one in New Zealand.

In July 2016, Hon. Jeremiah Manele, the Leader of the Official Opposition and a member of the Public Accounts Committee formed part of the PaNPAC Core Group who endorsed Solomon Islands as the host for this years’ Meeting.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Rick Houenipwela says that hosting this important regional meeting is a privilege and an opportunity for his Committee Members to be part of the sessions and interact with their counterparts.

In the region, Solomon Islands Parliament is often referred to as leading model of an effective scrutiny and oversight, given its committee system and efforts.

The meeting is supported by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank Group.

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