6th Premiers conference in the Solomon Islands
  • October 18, 2012

The nine Provincial Premiers of Solomon Islands arrive in Honiara this week ahead of the 6th Premiers conference scheduled to take place in Kira Kira, Makira Ulawa Province from the 22nd to the 26th October 2012. The five day conference of the Provincial Premiers and the Mayor of Honiara City Council shall be officially opened by the Prime Minister, Honourable Gordon Darcy Lilo (MP) on Monday October 22nd in Kira kira.  The Prime Minister and his delegation shall attend the opening ceremony before they fly back to Honiara for the Parliament session.

The Minister for the Provincial Governments and Institutional Strengthening, the Members of Parliament for East Makira, West Makira, Central and Ulawa Ugi Constituencies shall be attending the conference. Whilst in Kira Kira, the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Hon. Silas V. Tausinga (MP) shall officially open the newly completed provincial assembly chamber which is the venue for the Premiers conference.

The theme of the 6th conference this year is: ''Together we strive for sustainable, cost effective and efficient service delivery''. During the conference, all Provincial Premiers shall be making a detailed presentation based on the theme of the conference. This would be followed by discussions and presentations by Permanent Secretaries who have been invited to the conference as resource persons.

Considering the theme of the conference, the Kira Kira conference shall be dominated by discussions surrounding provincial level service delivery and whether the provincial governments are being resourced enough to provide essential services to the communities. Being closer to the communities, the Provincial Premiers feel they have the competitive advantage to support service delivery of line ministries and at the same time provide an oversight role at a cheaper cost. Provincial governments have been undergoing capacity building in public expenditure management systems and good governance through MPGIS' Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme for the past four years during which they have gained capacities that have repositioned them to support service delivery at the provincial and community level.

Amongst the conference programme agenda that the Provincial Premiers shall be discussing in Kira Kira is the design of the next phase of Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme and how the provincial governments would like the National Government to support the strengthening programme by seeking adequate funding for phase II of the programme.

There would be presentation and discussions on the plans that RAMSI has to support good governance and service delivery by the provincial governments as part of the transition plan, allocation criteria of SIG development budget which is overseen by MDPAC, the channelling of RCDF for community projects, how the Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs shall support the delivery of services in the provinces in coordination with provincial governments and the next steps for the Federal Constitution. The Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP shall be conducting a brief discussion session with the Premiers on post 2015 dialogue.

Through Provincial Capacity Development Fund of PGSP which is administered by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, the nine provincial governments combined have completed about 287 infrastructure projects most of which are in education and health. With the increase in funding of PCDF this year by SIG by additional SBD25 million, provincial governments have this year initiated 131 new projects most of which are in education and health sector infrastructures in coordination with those line ministries. PCDF projects are 100% funded and contractors are mainly locally based contractors thus creating job opportunities for the local skilled people.

From the 5th - 7th of September this year, all Provincial Premiers were invited to Honiara to attend a pre-premiers conference in preparations for the 6th Premiers conference. During the pre-premiers conference, eight line ministries were invited to discuss various aspects of Taro Premiers Conference Resolutions. This had enabled Provincial Premiers to interact with policy makers of those ministries to obtain responses to key resolutions agreed in Taro in October 2011.

The annual Premiers conference, according to the conference framework, is designed to be a forum for an inter-governmental policy dialogue where real issues that affect service delivery are discussed. At the end of each conference, Provincial Premiers agree on various resolutions which form part of the conference communiqué.

Preparations in Kira Kira for the 6th annual Premiers conference are nearing completion in readiness for the conference. The new conference chamber which would later be used as provincial assembly chamber has been completed at a cost of over SBD1.3 million including furnishing. The chamber was funded by SIG and PGSP through the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening. The Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening has also procured a new 15 KVA generator for the chamber. A brand new Toyota Hilux has also been delivered to the provincial Premier by the Ministry at the beginning of this month which shall assist the provincial government to monitor project implementation and supervision in remote parts of the province.  

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development is currently doing the roads in Kira kira to facilitate transportation. The road construction shall be extended to other parts of the province after the conference. MID is also set to deliver a second Toyota Hilux to the province later this month.

The 6th Premiers conference shall be covered live by Solomon Island Broadcasting Corporation for the full week.

Source: SolomonstarNews - Stanley D. Pirione, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening