During the 5th Premiers Conference held in the last week of October, Hon. Manasseh Maelanga, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs of Solomon Islands announces an increase of 24 million SBD (over 3.2 million USD) for provincial government’s development budget for 2012. This amount is in addition to the existing 5.871 million SBD that is allocated to the Provincial Capacity Development Funds by the National Government.
This announcement came in response to the general appeal of provincial governments to central government to provide adequate resources to facilitate the process of encouraging genuine participation and empowerment of citizens within the development process.
Hon. Maelanga assured the provincial Premiers attending the conference, that the government is fully aware of the gap between the real expenditure needs of the provincial governments and the current level of resources provided to them by the government.
The theme of the 5th Premiers Conference was ‘’Achieve Sustainable Development through Peace, Partnership and Participation’’. During the Conference the Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister sent a message to the provincial Premiers to continue their hard work to ensure effective and efficient service delivery in the provinces.
He urged the provincial Premiers to pave way for the participation of their citizens in local development management decision making process not as spectators but as active and genuine partners. The Deputy Prime Minister also called on the Provincial Premiers to ensure proper accountability of public funds.Several acknowledgements were made to the joint UNCDF-UNDP Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme (PGSP), for its design of the local government financing system, its support to the Premiers Conference and the 1st and 2nd Pre-Premiers Conference meetings in May and August 2011.
Moreover, the Premier of Isabel Province, Hon. Amos Gigini, indicated that PGSP has contributed a lot to changing the face of the town of Choiseul just like it has done in Buala. He also added that “PGSP is doing a lot for the provincial governments. All the resources that are being given to the PGSP for the provinces are being effectively utilized in the provinces”.