National Parliament of Solomon Islands

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Parliamentary Strengthening Project

 

WEDNESDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2014


ABOVE:Some of the Members of the Young Women's Parliamentary Group pose for a Photo at the SIPPA Office

The Young Women’s Parliamentary Group (YWPG) on Tuesday 16th September underwent a group Pap smear test at the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood (SIPPA).

This was part of their campaign against cervical cancer. The theme for this campaign is ‘Fight Like a Girl’. The young women took the step to do the test and decided to go public about it.

Sexually related diseases are usually frowned upon and are not something that is openly discussed. Women find it embarrassing and are ashamed to come forward to take the test. The group did this public awareness so that other women can also come forward.
Cervical cancer is the highest killer cancer among Solomon Islands women, and this can be prevented if women do the simple Pap smear test early. Solomon Islands also have a very high youth population who are sexually active and the high risk of cervical cancer is inevitable.

For the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group members, some of them are doing this for the first time and it is quite a challenge as well as one of them commented.
“I was not mentally ready for the test, it was awkward and embarrassing and excruciating all at once, but it only takes less than five minutes and when its done, you have the assurance that you are being an ambassador to advocate young women like myself to be aware of the fatality of Cervical Cancer. I did it, and so can you”.
According to a nurse working at the SIPPA clinic, results of the tests should be made available for the women around November or December 2014. The nurse said, getting results after two or three months is one Challenge SIPPA and even the National Referral hospital have always faced.

On that note YWPG Advisor Ms Marisa Pepa said they are hopeful to work with the new government thru the Ministry of Health to see the process of results is done quickly as lives are at stake.
“So while we are still healthy we must go and get tested and don’t wait till it’s too late”

Ms Marisa Pepa further explained that they will be conducting another group test sometime next month and she urges all the young women out there to get tested as well.
She also thanked the Solomon Island Planned Parenthood for making it possible for the group and also for continuing the service to all the women of this country. The Group will continue its campaign and is looking forward to working with the new government in getting the cervical cancer vaccine introduced into our health program.

TUESDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2014


ABOVE:Workshop Participants and Parliamentary Committee Secretariat Staff Pose for Photo During the Workshop

A fourth stakeholders’ information workshop was conducted and ended successfully for SOEs and Statutory Bodies on Parliamentary Committees at the National Parliament Paul Tovua Complex on Friday the 12th of July 2014.

The Committee Secretariat Department at the National Parliament has again organized this one day workshop for stakeholders with the aim to inform our State Own Enterprises (SOEs) on the roles of Parliamentary Committees and how they can assist in Parliamentary oversight roles.

Two of these similar workshops were held in 2013 for the Civil Society Groups and Public Servants, another one in early July this year for the Permanent Secretaries and senior government officials and the recent one was for all SOEs and statutory bodies.
The workshop was presented through power point by responsible Committee Secretariat staff Director Marson Lilopeza, Jefferson Halu, Wilson Orisi and Salome Pilumate who covered specific areas where Committees can build assenting networking and support with its stakeholders.

Main areas covered during the workshop included:

•Roles and functions of Parliament

•Roles and the functions of the Parliamentary Committees, what they are and their role in the Parliamentary democracy

•Learning how to participate in the Parliamentary Inquiry, giving evidence before the Committee and how to make submission to Parliament

•Information sharing between SOEs, statutory bodies and the Committee Secretariat

This workshop which is aimed at building affirmative networking and support with its stakeholders was described as an eye opening for most participants.
Those who attended commended the workshop stating it was a great learning opportunity. Some of the participants realized that they have been taking Parliamentary proceedings for granted.

Guest Speakers at the workshop were the former Chairman of Bills and Legislation Committee, Mr. Manasseh Sogavare and former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Douglas Ete .

Both former Chairpersons explained in great detail the work of the committees and the importance of building affirmative networking and reporting with stakeholders.
All information workshops were fully supported by the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project.

FRIDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2014

The 9th Parliament was officially dissolved on Monday the 8th of September 2014.

On that day, the Speaker of the National Parliament, Sir Allan Kemakeza hosted a farewell dinner at the Monarch Bar and Grill at the Iron Bottom Sound Hotel to thank and farewell the outgoing Members of Parliament (MPs).
Sir Allan in his closing remarks acknowledged the support of his colleague the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and outgoing Member of Parliament for North New Georgia, Hon. Job Dudley Tausinga for giving a commendable service to the house.

He also thanked the Office of the Sergeant at Arms for upholding the traditions and propriety of the Chamber. Sir Allan then thanked all Parliamentary staff for their professionalism under the guidance and leadership of the Clerk.

“Parliament could not function without the tireless effort and work of all Parliamentary staff whose professionalism is a credit to the Leadership of the Clerk to Parliament and her vibrant team.”

The Speaker of Parliament also offered his special thank you to the outgoing Prime Minister Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo and the outgoing ministers of the Crown and backbenchers for their driving policy and legislative implementation for the country and the life of the 9th Parliament.

Likewise he thanked the Leader of Opposition and members of the Opposition bench for their watchdog roles to the Government as well as the Independent Leader and team for their valuable discussions and debates.

Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Maelanga who spoke on behalf of the former Government MPs took the time to thank the Speaker and staff of the Parliament for a job well done.

Hon. Maelanga also asked the Speaker and the Parliamentary Staff to forgive the outgoing leaders if their actions have offended Parliament.

The Leader of the Independent Group and former MP for West AreAre Hon. John Maneniaru also articulated the same sentiments.

Speaking on behalf of the Independent and Opposition Group Hon Maneniaru said, “Despite the challenges it has been a joy to be a member of the ninth Parliament.”

He also asked Parliament to forgive their groups, the Opposition and Independent if they have not live up to their watch-dog roles effectively.

Ms Grace Hilly, Chairlady of the Young Women Parliamentary Group (YWPG) had also made remarks during the dinner.

She thanked all the outgoing MPs of the Ninth Parliament, especially for their support towards the short bus route report and the recently passed Family Protection Bill 2014.

The dinner was attended by former Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena, Heads of Diplomatic missions, Donor Representatives, Officials from various Government Ministries, Staff of the National Parliament and family members of the outgoing MPs.

FRIDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2014

Parliament has passed the Prime Minister’s (Pensions and Benefits) Bill 2014 on the 4th of September 2014.

The Bill, which is now an Act of Parliament proposes to provide pensions and other benefits for former Prime Ministers.

In effect, this means that a former Prime Minister who has held the Office of the Prime Minister on or after the 7th of July 1978 will be paid a pension at an annual rate of 60% of the current salary payable to the incumbent.
But the pension payable shall cease to be paid during the time the person is re-elected and re-appointed to the Office of the Prime Minister or is appointed to a public office
The pension shall be restored when a Prime Minister ceases to hold any position in any public office.

Where a Prime Minister dies while he is the Prime Minister or while he is entitled to receive a pension, his spouse will be entitled to be paid that pension at an annual rate of 40% of the pension receivable by the pensioner at the time of his death.
However, the spouse will not be entitled to receive the pension if she or he remarries.
The pension payable will be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund and be paid fortnightly.

The pension payable cannot be assigned or transferred except for satisfying a debt due to the government or payment of spousal and child maintenance ordered by any court or any levy attached or sequested thereto.
Other benefits include a one-off ex-gratia payment, a residence free of rent and other utilities, a vehicle or an OBM powered boat or boat allowance, and medical treatment prescribed from time to time by the Members of Parliament (Entitlements) Commissions Regulations.

The Bill was passed with no amendments.
Parliament will dissolve as of Friday 5th September 2014.

THURSDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER 2014

Parliament has passed the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2014 on Tuesday the 2nd of September 2014.

The house has appropriated an additional amount of One hundred and eighty seven million, eight hundred and thirty nine thousand, and five hundred and sixty four dollars (SBD$187,839,564) to the service of the year ending 31st December 2014.

This included additional recurrent and development expenditures and, expenditure incurred by the issue of contingencies warrants and advance warrants.

A total of Seven Million, Three Hundred Ninety Nine Thousand Dollars ($7,399,000) are expenditures under contingencies warrants.

Expenditures under Advance Warrants are Eighty Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Forty
Thousand, and Eight Hundred and Twelve Dollars ($88,840,812). These were spent under advance warrants for recurrent and development expenditures.

Additional Supplementary Expenditures as estimated to a total of Eighty Million, One Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand and Seven Hundred and Fifty Two Dollars and a total of $11,400,000 for new budget support development expenditures.

Finally, this Bill also appropriated an additional budget support funding of $530, 000, to meet the salaries of six additional staff joining the Ministry of Fishers and to fund over time needed to complete tasks due to staff shortage. This funding is fully offset by a re-appropriation.

The Bill was passed with no amendments.

MONDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER 2014

The Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Rick Hou has introduced the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation (No.2) Bill 2014 in Parliament yesterday.

The Bill is to appropriate an additional One hundred and eighty seven million, eight hundred and thirty nine thousand, and five hundred and sixty four dollars to the service of the year ending 31st December 2014.

Introducing the Bill, Hon. Hou said, as a Government it has to ensure that respect is maintained and improved with development partners, our children and citizens continue to be educated and up-skilled, our clinics and hospitals continue to function, our sovereignty and security is maintained, and our justice system continue to function efficiently.

Therefore, to secure our independence and pride as a sovereign nation, the Government must continue with key investments in social services, infrastructure development and the productive sector.

“Sir will continue to respond to the demands for services by our people and as before, government may have to, where absolutely necessary, trade off lower priorities with those that are becoming more critical,” he said.

He highlighted two incidents that have had negatively impacted our economy this year since the 2014 budget was delivered. They were the April flash floods and the suspension of production at the Gold Ridge Mine (GRM). Both of which are very significant.

That being the case, Hon. Rick Hou said the Government has made the most out of our financial avenues to fund flood-related costs.

“In this connection, we must thank our development partners, non-government organizations, business houses and individuals for their generous support in one way or the other,” Hon. Hou said.

The Object of the Bill is to supplement additional appropriation of the sum of of One Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Nine Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixty Four Dollars (SBD$187,839,564) to be authorised under the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Act (NO2) 2014 for the service of the year ending 31st December 2014.

This includes additional recurrent and development expenditures and, expenditure incurred by the issue of contingencies warrants and advance warrants.

The Honourable Minister of Finance when introducing the Bill outlined the breakdown of expenditures as follows:

A total of Seven Million, Three Hundred Ninety Nine Thousand Dollars ($7,399,000) are expenditures under contingencies warrants for the following:

  • $2,000,000 was allocated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to cater for the Solomon Islands participation at the recent 5th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Papuan New Guinea.
  • $5,399,000 to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology for Solomon Islands annual contribution to the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Secretariat and additional funding towards emergency operational costs for the April Flash Floods.

In terms of Expenditures under Advance Warrants a total of Eighty Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twelve Dollars ($88,840,812) were spent under advance warrants for recurrent and development expenditures funded by various donors as follows:

  • $4,000,000 Budget Support provided by Papua New Guinea through the Consolidated Fund to support RSIPF and CCSSI to provide assistance towards the April Flash Flood Disaster
  • $638,271 Budget Support provided by Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through Accountable Cash Grants to implement SPC/US AID Project: Land and Vegetation Cover and Improving Food Security for Building Resilience to a Changing Climate in SI Communities.
  • $6,000,000 Budget Support provided by Papua New Guinea to rehabilitate schools affected by the April 2014 floods.
  • $1,532,741 Budget Support provided by World Bank through Accountable Cash Grants to establish the Secretariat Office of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and its activities.
  • $11,409,420 Budget Support provided by World Health Organization, Secretariat of Pacific Community, Fiji School of Medicine, Fred Hollows Foundation, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine through Accountable Cash Grant on disaster management, tobacco control, HIV/STI, immunization, specialist clinical services, and distribution of Azithromycin
  • $5,550,00 Budget Support through Accountable Cash Grant by the Australia Federal Police for work on the RSIPF Forensic Facility Project
  • $7,870,000 Budget Support provided by Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Republic of China (ROC) through the Accountable Cash Grant for NDMO to support emergency relief and repatriation efforts.
  • $16,963,935 provided by Australia, New Zealand and World Bank through the Accountable Cash Grant for the Transport Management System, Revenue Management System, Household Income and Expenditure Survey, and ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) project.
  • $3,876,445 provided by WTO for the Solomon Islands Tourism Inclusive Development Project.
  • $31,000,000 provided by PNG for the shipping grant initiative program and payment of arrears for the reconstruction of Munda Airport.

Additional Supplementary Expenditures as estimated to a total of Eighty Million, One Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand and Seven Hundred and Fifty Two Dollars for the following:

  • $4,000,000 to be allocated to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development for the Doma USP Campus to clear the site
  • $8,659,825 for capital injection to Solomon Airlines for purchase of a twin otter aircraft and additional funding to cater for the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) project in 2014.
  • $1,000,000, to be allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the re-opening of the Geneva Mission.
  • $877,135, for additional funding to the National Parliament for the maintenance of generator and pluming works at the PT Complex.
  • $4,320,000, to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for water, Constitutional Reform Program, overseas subscription, and remuneration of the new Commissioner of Police
  • $13,449,800, additional funds for Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) flood assistance and Corrections evacuation of prisoners during flash floods, and logistical support for the National General Election.
  • $1,634,516, additional funding to meet ongoing and new apprenticeship program student allowances mandated by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration
  • $4,000,000, additional funding to cater for maintaining Henderson International airport and provincial airports.
  • $7,000,000, for public servants retirees that are eligible for Long and Dedicated Service Benefit (LDSB).
  • $258,476, additional funding to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs for house rentals to cater for new terms and conditions of magistrates
  • $35,000,000, to be allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs for additional funding for the National General Election in 2014.

The Bill also seeks to legalise the following new budget support development expenditures:

  • An additional funding of $10,000,000, provided by Papua New Guinea through the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services to support the police infrastructure in Lofang and Babanakira and,
  • $1,400,000, provided by Papua New Guinea to through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to support the expansion of the Community Fisheries Livelihood program.

Finally, this Bill also seeks to provide additional budget support funding of $530, 000, to meet the salaries of six additional staff joining the Ministry of Fishers and to fund over time needed to complete tasks due to staff shortage. This funding is fully offset by a re-appropriation.

Hon. Rick Hou said Parliament appreciating this 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill (NO. 2) 2014 is to regularize expenditures which had been incurred by the Government through Contingencies and Advance Warrants.

It also seeks additional funding to fund election and flood-related expenditures among other important commitments for the service of the Government and the people of Solomon Islands.

Inquiries into this Bill by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will begin today, also at the National Parliament House.

The Bill is currently in the second reading before the House and Parliament is adjourned until 9:30am on Friday 29th of September 2014 to give time for the PAC to conduct its inquiries into this Bill.

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