2 Nov 2002

Call for more accountability of Solomon Islands MPs' development funds

8:34 am on 2 November 2002

An advisor with the Solomon Islands Development Trust says there is a need for scrutiny of MP development funds.

MPs this week received another part of their yearly 30 thousand US dollars fund, which they are expected to use for development in their regions.

The Government says the money has been provided by Taiwan, and Finance Minister Laurie Chan says it is aimed at starting income-generating projects in rural areas.

John Roughan of the SIDT says it means at least some money gets through to the rural areas, but there is no mechanism to determine whether it is being spent as intended.

"Ostensibly, that money is to be receipted and is supposed to go to the village sector for people to have development projects. But the temptationthat it becomes a slush fund is overwhelming because, as far as my information goes, there is no accountability for that 200 thousand dollars a year."

John Roughan says that given that the country is in survival mode, the actions of the government show a misunderstanding of leadership.

Mr Roughan says while the MPs are entitled to the money, they could have been paid a smaller amount and some of the Govenrment's pressing debts, such as teachers wages, could have been met.