National Parliament of Solomon Islands

 

Vision: To be a modern Parliament that fulfills its constitutional duties and effectively serves the people of Solomon Islands.

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WEDNESDAY 27TH JANUARY 2016

Online line Booking tours
Parliamentary Civic Officer, Alex Seama (left) and Mr. Simon Small of England who visited Parliament on Tuesday 26th January

Those wanting to visit the National Parliament of Solomon Islands are now relieved from the process of going through the traditional request letters to online booking systems.

They will now make their bookings online from their computers through the Parliament website.

As part of Modernising Parliament, the Solomon Islands Parliament has embarked on a new online booking system for visits to Parliament for both international and local people.

This new online booking system has been built in by the Parliament ICT department together with the Civic Education Unit as part of the ongoing Parliamentary outreach program.

Like most West Minster Parliaments around the world who have already moved from the traditional request letters to online booking systems, Solomon Islands Parliament now has it.

Parliament visits are quite popular among schools in and outside of Honiara throughout the year; therefore, schools are encouraged to now make their bookings online by visiting the Parliament website (www.parliament.gov.sb).

The visits to parliament are basically, to help citizens understand the work of Parliament and our Members of Parliament (MPs) and most importantly our democratic processes.
Internationally visitors are always interested in learning about the country and its democratic system; therefore, they do come in numbers throughout the year.

Mr. Simon Small from England is the first international visitor who used the online booking system. He made his booking last year in October and visited our Parliament on Tuesday 26th January.

In 2015 alone we have a total of 598 students from 15 Schools in Honiara and Guadalcanal and a total of 712 international visitors from countries such as Australia, Japan, Spain, Germany, Switcherland,United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, China, Canada, Philipines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, PNG, Fiji, Poland and the United States of America.

In summary, the National Parliament has attracted a total of 1310 visitors in 2015 and is expecting more visitors this year 2016.

To do your bookings, go to the Visiting and Tours and book using the Book Appointment application. The general flow of booking will be as follows:
1. Choose a tour service, 2. Choose the tour Guide 3. Choose a date and time, 4. Enter your information, 5. Confirm your detail and check your tour appointment on your email.

FRIDAY 18TH DECEMBER 2015

Government says it is committed to pursuing its reform policies announced in 2015, namely Fundamental Reforms and Sectoral reforms.

Therefore, similar levels of funding will be made available to ministries as in the 2015 Budget to ensure various activities that have started or those that are yet to start will continue to implement these priorities.

Minister of Finanace and Treasuty, Hon. Snyder Rini made it clear when speaking of the Four Billion, Two Hundred and Sixteen Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty One Thousand and Six Hundred and Fifty Six Dollars budget in Parliament(); that in order to effectively implement these reforms, the Government has gradually shifted the approach to aligning the budgetary allocations to its priorities.

This entails shifting baseline funding to properly reflect the core functions of government ministries and agencies to better implement the Government priorities. More specifically, this includes:

  • Shifting of major building and infrastructure programs that have previously been funded under various ministries to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development
  • Transferring land reform, development and acquisition to the Ministry of Lands and Survey which have been funded under various ministries.
  • Encourage development partners to assist implement Government priorities and
  • Solicit ministries to invest in better planning and implementation and oversight. This aims to improve quality of public expenditures in order to improve growth, governance and service delivery.

Hon. Rini said these approaches are part of ensuring that the Fundamental and Sectoral reforms achieve their outcomes during the term of the DCC Government.

He further explained that the DCC Government had a late start in executing the 2015 Budget and for most part had been preparing for better and effective execution for the 2016 Fiscal year.

He outlined major initiatives, programmes and projects which he described as critical areas of Government policy. These will be pursued in 2016.

  • Progressing of the Constitutional and Political Reforms;
  • Progressing of the Customary and General Land Reforms;
  • Establishment of the Independent Commission against Corruption;
  • Progressing Public Service Reforms;
  • Guadalcanal Plains road infrastructure and bridges to help the growth in the palm oil sector;
  • Reviewing approach and progress investments in Suava Bay and Bina Habour;
  • Climate proofing and north and south Malaita roads, sealing of Auki roads to build the “credibility” of Auki as an economic hub;
  • Sealing of Gizo roads to encourage business investment in industry and tourism and to enhance economic prospects in Western Province;
  • Sealing airport runways in Taro in Choiseul, Seghe in Western and lata in Temotu to promote tourism opportunities;
  • Progressing the Tina Hydro Project;
  • Scoping and construction of rural wharves in all provinces
  • Scoping for rural roads and bridges in all provinces
  • Progressing Oil Palm Plantations and Out Growers Oil Palms projects in Malaita, Guadalcanal and Choiseul and
  • Scoping of Aola – Marau Road

The Minister of Finance said, as earlier indicated, new projects take time to design and implement, therefore, Government need to ensure these major initiatives are completed and implemented before committing to further new initiatives.

In addition to the major initiatives, programmes and projects outlined above, the Budget will continue to fund Recurrent Estimates to enable ministries to maintain services for our people and lay foundations for future growth for the nation.

Hon Rini said the Budget is balanced, credible and responsible. It is fully funded through a combination of domestic revenue, external budget support and cash reserves that successive Governments have built up over recent years, therefore, it will require no additional borrowing by the Government.

Hon. Rini added that due to the late implementation of the 2015 Budget, the level of reserves that was planned to be used for funding the 2015 budget have not been drawn down. This will place the 2016 Budget is a financially sound position.

In terms of revenue, domestic revenue sourced for this budget comes from the following:

  • Inland Revenue - $1,830.0 million
  • Customs - $917.8 million
  • Other Ministries - $275.7 million

In addition the Government also expects an estimate of $709.1 million from donors as budget support, including $40 million in general support from the Asian Development Bank.

In terms of Expenditure, the Government is budgeting to spend $4,301.1 million in 2016. This is made-up of $3,123.2 million for recurrent and $1,177.9 million for development. Of the recurrent expenditure of $3,123.2 million, $2,524.1 million will be on recurrent operations of which payroll will be $1,001.2 million. Other charges $1,522.9 million and donor support for recurrent operations $599.1 million.

The Government also plans to spend $1,177.9 million in development project expenditure which comprises of $1,107.9 million from domestic sources and $70.0 million from donor development assistance, principally the Republic of China.

The Finance Minister says 84 percent of the recurrent and development expenditure are funded by domestic sources while 16 percent is from the donor community.

Parliament has also appropriated for contingency warrants for up $75 million for the purpose of unforeseen and unbudgeted or insufficient expenditures in order to continue service delivery and undertaking of productive infrastructure projects where usual allocations may not allow.

In addition, borrowing for up to a limit of $300 million was also approved.
Hon. Rini said unlike the 2015 budget, the implementation of the 2016 Budget will hit the ground running, come the commencement of the 2016 financial year.

To do this, Government said it will take the following measures to strengthen the alignment of the Government priorities.

  1. The establishment of a new Budget Expenditure Committee. The role of the committee is to ensure that Government strategies and collective priorities to improve service delivery and service to communities are adequartely reflected in the national budget. This committee will be headed by the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Finance and Treasury and PSs of all central agencies, including the Secretary to cabinet.
  2. Clarify the roles of existing committees such as the Budget Coordinating Committee and the Budget Implementation Committee to improve budget coordination, the screening of submissions and improving the implementation of the budget.
  3. The Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury are working with all ministries to improve the compliance to budget instructions especially the requirement that ministries submit their budget bids on time. This is to allow proper screening of their alignment to Government priorities.
  4. Government will conduct a judicious review of the whole portfolio, covering both the development budget and the recurrent budget with the intention to reduce and remove non-performing or non-priority activities – a form of “spring cleaning”. This is to create some financial space which Government will use to accommodate new ideas and projects.

The Finance Minister concluded, “We are a long way from gaining self-sufficiency and domestically funding the full range of existing level of government services to all people, especially those in the constituencies and rural areas. Therefore, it is important that we work together in the coming years toward self-funding the existing level of services and embarking on programmes and projects that would make a lasting difference to our people.”

Parliament passed the Four Billion, Two Hundred and Sixteen Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty One Thousand and Six Hundred and Fifty Six Dollars () on Tuesday the 15th of December

THURSDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2015

  

LEFT:Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare center.RIGHT: Speaker of the National Parliament, Ajilon Jasper Nasiu far right.

The Speaker of the National Parliament, Hon Ajilon Nasiu joined the “Walk Against Corruption” to commemorate the annual Anti-Corruption Day conjointly organized by the Government Integrity Bodies and the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on Tuesday the 7th of December 2015.

Participating at the occasion were senior constitutional Post Holders and officials from the Leadership Code Commission, the Ombudsman, Office of the Auditor General, the National Judiciary, the Office of the Director of Prosecution, the Public Solicitors Office, Law Reform Unit, the Solomon Islands Intelligence Unit Solomon Islands Extractive Industries Transparency and Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) and the Royal Solomon Islands Police force.

Invited Civil Society Organizations, stakeholders and individuals in Honiara also took part in this advocacy commemoration.

He however was delighted to see the Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and Members of Parliament who came out also to take their stand against corruption. He commented that the magnitude of corruption in Solomon Islands is significant both in the public and private sector. And this is quite a challenge for national prosperity.

Nasiu emphasized that unless we address the issue of corruption we cannot go far in our national endeavors. Thus the stand against corruption is a national matter and requires significant collaborations of individuals, groups and a political will.

Participating in the procession were the Leader of the Official Opposition, Hon Jeremiah Manele and the Leader of the Independent Group, Hon Derek Sikua.

Other Members include the MP for South Guadalcanal, Hon. David Day Pacha; MP for North New Georgia, Hon Dean Kuku; MP for Ngella, Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo; MP for North Guadalcanal Hon. Samson Maneka; MP for Rennell/ Bellona Hon. Tuatui A Kaitu’u and MP for East Kwaio, Hon. Stanley Sofu.

Providing morale support to the Parliament cohort were the Clerks to the National Parliament Mr. Clezy Rore and Florence Naesol, the Young Women’s’ Parliamentary Group and staff of the National Parliament.

With regards to a legislative stand against corruption, the Honorable Prime Minister reassures the inquisition by the Opposition and Independent group in his remarks on the occasion; that his government would bring the Solomon Islands Anti-Corruption Commission Bill to Parliament soon.

FRIDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2015

Parliament is adjourned on the 3rd of December to give time for the Public Accounts Committee to complete its hearings and put together a report.

Parliament will resume on the 8th of December 2015.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare moved a motion of special adjournment after the introduction of the 205 Appropriation Bill 2016 by Finance Minister Snyder Rini on Thursday the 3rd of December 2015.

The Public Accounts Committee has concluded hearings on Friday the 4th of December and will be reporting to Parliament when it resume on Tuesday the 8th December 2015. All line Ministries turn up for the hearings except for the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace and the three Constitutional offices namely; The National Parliament Office, Office of the Governor General and the Office of the Auditor General.

The three Constitutional Offices only made written submissions on Friday the 4th of December before PAC concluded its hearings.

In the motion of Special Adjournment, Prime Minister Sogavare said government would like to commence debate on the budget when it resumes on the Tuesday 8th December.

The proposed budget is estimated to a total of: Four Billion, Two Hundred and Sixteen Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty One Thousand and Six Hundred and Fifty Six Dollars.

Parliament hopes to pass the 2016 Appropriation Bill 2015 before the festive week.

THURSDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2015

The Public Accounts Committee.jpg
L-R Patisha Wate(KGVI),Tania Wickham(St Nicolas),Nauna Revo(FYCS),John Firibo(BEPS),Jayson Joseph(Betikama)

Five Solomon Islands young leaders have returned with pride after coming second again in the 2nd Melanesian School Debate held recently in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

This was seen as a repetition of last year’s 1st Melanesian Debate where they also scooped the 2nd runner up to the host PNG.

All credits will be given to Ms. Patisha Wate of KGVI, Ms. Tania Wickham of St Nicholas College, Ms. Nauna Revo of Florence Young Christian School, John Firibo of Bishop Epalle and Mr. Jayson Joseph of Betikama Adventist College.

They stood out in the debate and beat Vanuatu and Fiji in the first two rounds but eventually lost to the host Vanuatu in the grand final. It was a tough debate with constructive debates by both finalists.

The topics debated were;

-The traditional Westminster system of Governance is incompatible with our Melanesian Custom

-Long term, sustainable development is impossible for Melanesia.

-China’s strategic partnerships with Pacific Island Countries will undermine traditional donor relations

Parliamentary Civic Education Officer Mr Alex Seama and Mrs Bentley Tito an English Teacher at KGVI who have accompanied the team said the student’s performance was outstanding.

“Our students deserve to be congratulated. In all three rounds of the completion team Solomon Islands got the best speakers award. They did extremely well in their preparations and are well versed with the topic and debated the topic well and not just reading out fact. They are quick to formulate ideas and rebating on points raised by their opponents. With the support of Solomon Island students studying at the USP Vanuatu campus the students are proud to be standing in front representing Solomon Islands."

Tania Wickham came out to be the best throughout the debate program as she run off with the best overall Speaker Award.

This is the 2nd MSDC, the first was held in PNG, this year in Port Villa & Solomon Islands is to host next year 2016.

Team Solomon is competing with neighboring Melanesian Countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea and host Vanuatu.

This is the second time this program is hosted and Team Solomon had performed extremely well last year.

Team Solomon is supported and funded by the Ministry of Women Youth & Children Affairs, Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, National Parliament of Solomon Islands and Solomon Telekom for their T-Shirts.

The Melanesian School debate was an initiative derived from the success of the first ever Regional Youth Parliament (RYP) hosted by Solomon Islands National Parliament on September 2013.

The purpose of hosting such event is to develop the youth participants to realise their potentials and to build their confidence to lead in their schools, youth groupings, village and communities. Participants will recognise their leadership qualities and prepare to utilise them in the future, Youth voice will be heard by police and law makers and contributes to influence public decision making.

This will provide an avenue for young people to come together to learn about governments and politics in their sister Melanesian states and encourages youths to come together to know each other and more importantly establish friendship with other youths.

It also paves the way for young people of the Pacific to actively engage at an early age in discussing and debating issues that affects their lives and lives of the people in the Pacific.

Countries who have attended were Vanuatu, Fiji and Solomon Islands.

TUESDAY 1ST DECEMBER 2015

LEFT:Representatives from the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination before the PACRIGHT: PAC Members

Hearings on the 2016 Appropriation Bill 2015 started on Tuesday the 1st of December 2015 and is expected to end on Friday the 4th of December 2015.

The hearings which begin with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury will include all Government Ministries, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

The 2016 Appropriation Bill 2015 is asking Parliament to appropriate a total of Four Billion, Two Hundred and Sixteen Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty One Thousand and Six Hundred and Fifty Six Dollars to the Service of the year ending 31st December 2016.
The Bill is expected to be brought for first reading when Parliament resume on Thursday the 3rd of December 2015.

At the first half of this meeting, Parliament was able to pass the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2015. It also tabled eleven papers and has successfully allowed eight questions to be asked and answered in Parliament.

Parliament will resume in a day’s time, Thursday the 3rd of December 2015.
A report on the hearings is expected to be presented in Parliament before the Bill is being passed.

TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2015

The 2nd Melanesian High School Debate Competition is currently underway in Port Vila after its Official opening yesterday, Monday 23rd November 2015.

It is a one week program of debate and should be concluded on Friday the 27th November 2015.

Representing Solomon Islands are Ms. Nauna Revo of Florence Young Christian School, Ms. Tania Wickham of St Nicholas College, Ms. Patisha Wate of KGVI School, Mr. Jayson Joseph of Betikama Adventist College, Mr. John Firibo of Bishop Epalle and two accompanying staff Mr Alex Seama, Parliamentary Civic Education Officer and Mrs. Navie Bently Tito a KGVI School English teacher.

The Melanesian School debate committee (MSDC) in collaboration with the Solomon Islands National Schools Speech Competition and Mini -English and Arts Festival Committee, selected the five best students during the July English Festival in Honiara.

Team Solomon is competing with neighboring Melanesian Countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea and host Vanuatu.
This is the second time this program is hosted and Team Solomon had performed extremely well last year.

They came second to Papua New Guinea in last year’s first Melanesian School Debate after they were down by just three points only in the final round of speech competition. With its second place, team Solomon was also awarded the first runner up cup for the best speaker of debate and the best male speaker award.

According to the Chairman of the organising committee and Director for youth, Mr Andre Tipoki, our students are determined to bring back the first prize this time round.
Mr Tipoki said he has high confidence that they will make it to the final.
“Our team were the best in the country and I am confident that they will come home with the trophy”

Team Solomon is supported and funded by the Ministry of Women Youth & Children Affairs, Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, National Parliament of Solomon Islands and Solomon Telekom for their T-Shirts.
The Melanesian School debate was an initiative derived from the success of the first ever Regional Youth Parliament (RYP) hosted by Solomon Islands National Parliament on September 2013.

The purpose of hosting such event is to develop the youth participants to realise their potentials and to build their confidence to lead in their schools, youth groupings, village and communities. Participants will recognise their leadership qualities and prepare to utilise them in the future, Youth voice will be heard by police and law makers and contributes to influence public decision making.

This will provide an avenue for young people to come together to learn about governments and politics in their sister Melanesian states and encourages youths to come together to know each other and more importantly establish friendship with other youths.

It also paves the way for young people of the Pacific to actively engage at an early age in discussing and debating issues that affects their lives and lives of the people in the Pacific.

THURSDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2015

The Public Accounts Committee.jpg
Members of PAC with Chairman, Hon. Rick Hou

The Public Accounts Committee is inquiring into the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2015.

The inquiry begins on Wednesday the 4th of November 2015 and is expected to end on Friday the 6th of November 2015.

The 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bills which will be brought before Parliament estimates up to One hundred and ninety five million, seven hundred and forty thousand, and one hundred and thirty one dollars.

This supplementary appropriation is to supplement additional expenditure and expenditure incurred by the issue of Contingencies warrants, Advance warrants, Variations in Appropriations and Additional Recurrent Supplementary Estimates from a total of thirteen ministries.

Permanent Secretaries and senior officers from the following Government Ministries have appeared before the Committee to provide substantive evidences for their request; Ministry of Finance and Treasury; Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services; Ministry of Communication and Civil Aviation; Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management.

The remaining two; Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will conclude the hearings with their submissions today.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Rick Hou told the witnesses that Committees are an extension of Parliament; hence, what they said in the hearings is protected by parliamentary privileges and cannot be later used against them in any legal proceedings.

Hon. Hou told witnesses that because of the strength of this privilege, the committee expects all witnesses to ensure that their views and answers are truthful and are confining to matters relevant to the questions asked by members.

And he warned that providing false evidence to the committee is contempt to the committee.

“Witnesses shall not also reflect or comment unfairly or defame others. The privilege that is provided by Parliament to witnesses must be respected and used wisely.”

This scrutiny exercise is provided for under Orders 69(b) of the Parliament Standing Orders to establish the causes of excesses over authorized expenditures. The committee will report to Parliament with recommendations on appropriate future measures to cater for such excesses of expenditure.

Members of the Committee are: Hon. Connelly Sandakabatu, Hon. Jeremiah Manele, Hon. Derrick Manuari, Hon.Nestor Giro, Hon. Matthew Cooper Wale and Hon. Steve Abana.

These hearings are broadcasted live on SIBC.

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