Parliament passed the 2013 supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014 on Thursday 10th April 2014.
The 2013 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014 sought to authorize a supplementary expenditure of fifteen million, nine hundred and five thousand, and six hundred and ninety seven dollars, for the service of the year ending 31st December 2013.
It was also to supplement expenditure incurred by the issue of contingencies warrants and advance warrants as well as insufficient funding allocation during the year 2013 in respect of the heads specified in the schedule of the Bill.
When reporting this Bill in Parliament for debate, Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon Rick Hou said this Bill is in keeping with section 102 subsections 3 of the constitution and section 51 of the Public Financial Management ACT 2013.
“These sections stipulate that the Minister of Finance with the prior approval of Cabinet may seek supplementary appropriations from Parliament in addition to the annual appropriation act for the expenditures in excess of the sum appropriated for a purpose by appropriation act or a purpose for which no sum has been appropriated if the minister is satisfied that an urgent and unforeseen need has arisen and that issues must be authorized from consolidated fund to meet that need,” Hon Rick Hou explained.
The Bill had legalized the following expenditures spent under Contingencies Warrant in the year 2013.
Nine hundred thousand dollars ($900,000) to the National Parliament to cover 2013 MP’s discretionary funds approved by the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission early in that year; Two million dollars ($2,000,000) additional expenditure to meet the cost for hosting the 2013 South Pacific beauty pageant show; Eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($850,000) additional expenditure to monitor and regulate mining and tailings storage facility at Gold ridge and Ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for a new shipping grant initiative in 2013.
The Finance and Treasury Minister further informed Parliament that the Bill had also sought to legalize expenditures spent under Advance Warrant.
This included one hundred and fifty-five thousand; six hundred and ninety seven dollars ($155,697) additional expenditure for health support service program funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Two million dollars expenditure provided by the Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan towards Kazukuru Land Trust Board for the Munda airport upgrading project.
This Bill aimed at regularizing expenditures which had been incurred by the Government.
After much debate by members of Parliament, the Bill went through the Committee of supply and passed in third reading.
MONDAY 14TH APRIL 2014
The sixth meeting of the ninth Parliament has so far passed three Bills out of the ten Bills that have come before the House.
They are the Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the 2013 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014. .
The insertion of the new section 69A has welcomed the usage of a suitable recording device for the electronic record of the proceedings.
The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2014 adds a new insertion 315A to the Criminal Procedure Code Act to enable proceedings conducted in Magistrates Court to be recorded using suitable recording device.
Other Bills that are still before Parliament are the Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (Amendment) Bill 2014, Constitutional Offices (terms and Conditions of Service) (Judicial Reform) (Amendment) Bill 2014, the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014, Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2014, Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill 2014,Lands and Titles (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Political Parties Integrity Bill 2014.
Debate on the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014 is expected today.
MONDAY 14TH APRIL 2014
A New Testament Bible translated in Kwaio dialect was launched at the National Parliament Office today (Thursday 10th April 2014).
Director of Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group (SITAG), Mr Timothy Matzke said the completion of the Bible was made possible through the tireless commitment of Kwaio people like Mr George Taboo, Mr David Fonosimae, and organizations like the Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group (SITAG), the Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership (BTLP) and Mrs Julie Savage of SITAG, including support from other indigenous Kwaio people and churches in the United States of America.
Before the translation a series of workshops were conducted for the stakeholders and individuals who supported the project.
Member of Parliament for West Kwaio Hon Peter Tom has also praised SITAG for their tireless task of bringing God’s word translated into their own dialect.
This new translated bible is placed in the Bible Cabinet of the National Parliament Office by the Member of Parliament for West Kwaio Hon Peter Tom.
This event was witnessed by the Hon Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, Speaker of Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza, Chairman of the BTLP Trustees, Pastor Andrew Fanasia, Martha Matzke, SITAG Director, SITAG Translator Advisor, and Member of Parliament for West Kwaio, Peter Tom and other Members of Parliament including Staff of National Parliament Office.
MONDAY 7TH APRIL 2014
The Committee Secretariat organized a one day Information Workshop for the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the 21st of March 2014. Of the 47 identified CSOs within Honiara, 31 participants from 27 Organizations attended the workshop.
The initiative was to aid CSOs with relevant capacities to engage with the Parliamentary Committees. The workshop covers Introduction to Parliament, the Functions and Roles of the Parliamentary Committees and how CSOs as potential stakeholders can be engaged in the Committee processes.
The Guest Speakers during the occasion included the Chairman for Bills and Legislation Committee, Hon Manasseh Sogavare, and the Chairman for the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Douglas Ete. The two Speakers spoke of their experiences with the Parliamentary Committees and how the CSOs’ participation in the Committee processes can well inform Members of Parliament on matters before the House.
Participants conveyed their appreciation for the opportunity and pledged their interest to assist Parliamentary Committees with their roles in Parliament.
The Committee Secretariat is planning to host two similar workshops for its stakeholders, one for - the Government Ministries and Institutions and another one for the SOEs, Bilateral Partners, and Business entities before the year ends. The workshop was supported by the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Program.
WEDNESDAY 26TH MARCH 2014
Parliament concluded its fifth meeting on 24 December 2013 by a motion of sine die - meaning that no specific date is assigned for a future meeting.
However the date of the next Parliament (sixth) meeting is now confirmed to be April 3 2014. This follows after the Clerk to Parliament on received notice of the meeting from the Prime Minister.
WEDNESDAY 26TH MARCH 2013
The Parliamentary Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) has started its public hearing inquiries into the various Bills tabled in Parliament for the upcoming Parliamentary meeting in April.
In its first Hearing, held on Monday 24 March 2014, the Committee inquired into two amendment Bills--the Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2014. Among the witnesses who appeared before the Committee were: the Acting Registrar of the High Court; Acting Chief Magistrate; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and legal Affairs; the attorney Generals Chambers (Drafting); the Director of Public Prosecution; Public Solicitors Office and the Solomon Islands Bar Association.
Another hearing scheduled for Wednesday 26 March will focus on two proposed constitutional amendment bills. The first Bill --the Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (amendment) Bill 2014 proposes to amend the Constitution to enable Magistrates to become Constitutional Office holders. The second Bill--The Constitutional Offices (Terms and Conditions of Service) (Judicial Reform)(Amendment)Bill 2014 seeks to amend the Constitutional Offices(Terms and Conditions of Service) Act to add the position of Deputy Chief Justice and Magistrates to the schedule to enable them to be constitutional office holders.
TUESDAY 25th MARCH 2014
An informational workshop on supporting the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was conducted for staff of the Committee Secretariat and other support departments of the National Parliament Office at Paul Tovua Complex on Wednesday 12 March 2014.
The workshop, supported by the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening program was conducted by staff of the Budget Unit of the Ministry of Finance, and the Acting Auditor General, from the Office of the Auditor General, (OAG).
In pursuit to improve secretariat support to PAC, the Committee Secretariat department specifically requested the Budget unit and the Acting Auditor General, who is also the Secretary to PAC to conduct a one day workshop for the officials. The staff of the Secretariat wanted to be more “informed of Government Budgeting and the Budget process as PAC is one of the stakeholders in the Budget cycle.” Also the workshop was to “enlighten Committee staff on means of effectively supporting PAC such as producing briefs for the Committee and compiling reports on the ‘Appropriation Bill’ and ‘PAC Audit Report Reviews’ the two main reports usually produced by the Committee.
In his welcome brief before the workshop, Director of the Committee Secretariat, Mr Marson Lilopeza stated “it is always a challenge for us to clearly understand the languages used in the Appropriation documents submitted. Therefore, it is fitting that such training as this be conducted by the office that usually compile such a Bill and also from the office that usually audits the spending of the Appropriated Budget.”
The workshop was very helpful as both the Budget unit and the Audit office had pointed out important tips on gathering information for PAC. Both Offices indicated that they are always available to assist the Secretariat should there be any more need for such workshops in the future.
WEDNESDAY 5TH FEBRUARY 2014
"Women’s Mock Parliament; a new milestone"
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in close collaboration with the UNDP Pacific Centre, the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Solomon Islands Government in advancing women’s participation in leadership and decision making will conduct a Mock Women Parliament at the National Parliament of Solomon Islands (NPSI) from the 10th – 13th February 2014.
The 4 days training program is aimed to provide participants with necessary skills and knowledge of parliamentary procedures, the Electoral Commission, good governance and parliamentary leadership in Solomon Islands, separation of powers (Executive, Judiciary, Legislative) and Parliamentary Committees to name a few.
A total of 35 women participants throughout the country will part-take in the mock debate of the Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) and its effectiveness to some essential services such as health, education, rural development & domestic violence.
Participants will have first hand information from various leaders within the Government, the National Parliament Office and representatives from the UNDP in a form of training from Monday to Wednesday before the mock debate on Thursday on a motion on the Constituency Development Fund.
Mr Dyfan Jones, UNDP’sParliamentary Development Specialist based in Suva, Fiji added that “through the convening of the mock parliament session for women, women will receive practical training and tools to help them develop and implement their electoral campaigns and have a better understanding of parliamentary processes which will prepare them for their prospective role as a parliamentarian.”
He believed that since the Pacific region has the lowest proportion of women Parliamentarians in the world this program will enable voters to become more aware about the value of having women in Parliament.
The mock parliament for women in Solomon Islands is part of broader UNDP regional programme.Previously UNDP has assisted National Parliaments to arrange mock parliaments in PNG, Kiribati, Palau and Marshall Islands.
The event is expected to be broadcasted live on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation and TTV.