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TUESDAY 11TH MAY 2021

Clerk to Parliament, Mr. David Kusilifu delivering his opening remarks. Honiara Base CSO participants pose for a group photo with Parliament staff and Clerk – Mr. David Kusilifu ( center - standing).

A one week information workshop on the 2021 national budget for Civil Society Organizations (CSO) is underway in Honiara.

The workshop is a follow on of the Floating Budget Office (FBO) Mission to Parliament which commenced on Tuesday 16 March, the Mission provided an independent analysis on the 2021 Appropriation Bill through a budget brief to make financial information more simplified and ‘digestible’ for Members of Parliament to use in the Budget debate.

The FBO Mission comprised of researchers from within the National Parliament Office, subject experts on Climate change and Gender and Parliamentary researchers from the Fiji and Tonga Parliaments.

Clerk to National Parliament, Mr. David Kusilifu in his opening remarks at the workshop thanked participants for accepting the invitation to the briefing session.

He said national budgets impact the entire country - all sectors, institutions and all communities, therefore, the availability of information to citizens and CSOs is essential not only as a right, but also in terms of having an open and transparent governance system.

“This workshop provides a space to apply your perspective or lenses as civil society organizations and interest groups on the national budget within the ambit of public finance oversight.”

It is envisaged that the workshop will also assist CSOs to better understand the role and work of Parliament. This is the second Budget briefing workshop held for CSOs, the first was held in late 2019.

The Clerk thanked the following partners for making the event possible:

  • UNDP Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI) and Strengthening Legislature in the Pacific (SIPL) projects – which are funded by the New Zealand and Japan Governments,
  • Development Services Exchange (DSE),
  • The Solomon Islands Government for the ongoing support, and
  • FBO Technical experts
    • Dr. Jeremy Hills (Climate Change Analyst) and
    • Dr. Swanpa Bist-Joshi (Gender Expert) for the virtual sessions.
    • The Solomon Islands Government for the ongoing support, and

The first day of this workshop was a briefing for Honiara based CSOs. Provincial CSO participants will begin their session today Tuesday 11th May and conclude on Friday 14th May 2021.

TUESDAY 20TH APRIL 2021

Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (FRC), Hon. Peter Kenilorea (Jnr) third from right, FRC Committee Members & Secretariat and representatives from the Department of External Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs poses for a photo before the deliberations.

The Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) has held an informative session with representatives from the Department of External Trade of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade on the 13th of April 2021 at the Parliament House.

The Foreign Relations Committee, Chaired by Hon. Peter Kenilorea (Jnr) invited key Trade staff from the Ministry to provide an insight into the following areas.

  • The processes involved in the signing and ratification of International Treaties/Regional Treaties/Bilateral treaties; and
  • - Update on the recent ratified trade frameworks that were aimed to facilitate trade flows (PACER Plus, Labour Mobility, IEPA, PRC market duty free & etc) and their progresses

Staff representing the Department of External Trade provide insight into the existing trade frameworks by making presentations on the following existing trade relations:

  • Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus - Signing and Ratification and Implementation
  • Labour Mobility - Recognized Seasonal Employment (RSE) with New Zealand since 2007 and Season Worker Program (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) with Australia in 2012 & 2018 respectively.
  • European Union – Pacific States interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-Pacific iEPA) – Accession and Implementation.
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland-Pacific interim Economic Partnership Agreement (UK-Pacific iEPA) – Accession and Implementation.
  • Peoples Republic of China (PRC) Preferential Market Access - Exchange of Notes and Implementation
  • Melanesia Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA) - Signing and Ratification and Implementation

The functions of the FRC as stipulated under Standing Order 71 B (b) to examine, make observations and recommendations on the accession to and signing and ratification of international treaties and conventions.

MONDAY 8TH MARCH 2021

Hon. Charles Sigoto The Parliamentary Health and Medical Services Committee.

The Parliamentary Health and Medical Services Committee (HMSC), Chaired by Hon. Charles Sigoto has held discussions with key staff of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) over the status of two lifesaving equipment at the National Referral Hospital (NRH).

Mammography and Computer Tomography scan.

Mammography is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, aids in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

Computer Tomography scan is a medical imaging technique that uses computer-processed combinations of multiple X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce tomographic (cross-sectional) images (virtual "slices") of a body, allowing the user to see inside the body without cutting. The personnel that perform CT scans are called radiographers or radiologic technologists.

The Committee was informed that the mammography has not be functioning sometimes in 2018 and plans to set up a CT scan machine 9 years ago has not took off as planned.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services team who were present at the roundtable stated that currently they are working very hard to link up with an engineer from Australia through virtual mode to fix the Mammogram as it needs a specialized engineer for proper installation.

Simultaneously, the Ministry is also working hard to complete the CT Scan project as there are two components to it that yet to be completed.

  • Construction of a building to house the CT scan which is only 70-80% complete
  • Procurement of associated equipment

The CT scan has been procured and is now in country but the Ministry will have to bid for another 11million dollars this year to purchase associated equipment such as a scan machine, computers, and monitoring equipment that will enable its use.

The CT scan has been procured and is now in country but the Ministry will have to bid for another 11million dollars this year to purchase associated equipment such as a scan machine, computers, and monitoring equipment that will enable its use.

During the discussions, staff of the MHMS assured the Committee that if everything goes to plan, this project should be completed, up and running by the end of this year.

However, the reduction of the Ministry’s budget for 2021 may affect the implementation of this important project, hence, they are uncertain about its completion.

Upon hearing this, the Committee urged the Ministry and government to prioritize these important projects at the highest level.

The Committee also encouraged the Ministry to tap into potential sources such as donors to support the implementation of these two important projects as they are vital to the health of citizens, at the same time, it is the Ministry’s priority to improve the status of the NRH.

The mammogram machine was the only one at the NRH and it was donated by the First Lady’s charity group in 2014. Between 2014 and 2018 a total of 1,000 women did tests for breast cancer using that machine. Data from those tests showed that almost 30% of young women between the age of 30 and 40 tested positive for breast cancer and some are lucky to get treated.

Radiologist, Dr Aaron Oritaemae during the discussions said, breast cancer is the second killer for women in the country.

The round table discussion was held on Thursday 25th February with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Permanent Secretary and specialized Medical Practitioners such as Dr. Aaron Oritaemae and Dr. Joseph Bernard NRH’s Radiologists and Dr. Ivan Ghemu, DPP at the Paul Tovua Complex, Parliament House.

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER 2020

The Parliamentary Education and Human Resources Training Committee (EHRTC) successfully concluded its hearing into the repatriation of Solomon Islands students studying at overseas academic institutions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday 12 October 2020.

The Committee had resolved in its deliberative meeting on the 12 of August 2020 to inquire into and report on the government’s Covid -19 pandemic repatriation of Solomon Islands Students studying in various academic institutions overseas and report to Parliament.

Hence, the Committee’s terms of reference (TOR) is particularly to:

  • Examine the government’s COVID-19 repatriation policy for students overseas;

  • Examine the administration of the policy;

  • Determine the capacity of quarantine facilities to accommodate repatriated students;

  • Examine the strategy to continue in-country academic education for repatriated students;

  • Determine the technological capacity to accommodate online study for repatriated students;

  • Examine the post-pandemic strategy to resend students back to overseas academic institutions; and

  • Any other related matters.

All information of the inquiry will not be forestall or preempted at this stage until the completion of the Committee’s report.

Thus, recommendations and evidences gathered during the hearings will be compiled in a report and the Committee will table it to Parliament for considerations when Parliament resumes on Monday 9 November 2020.

Witnesses or stakeholders who have appeared before the Education and Human Resources Training Committee (EHRTC) during the 5 days inquiry include the officials from the Ministry of Education and Human resources Development, National Disaster Operations Committee, COVID-19 Oversight Committee, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a representatives of repatriated students.

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