THE Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke Langalanga and member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Hon, Matthew Wale has criticized the Government’s Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) for allocating low budget for the health sector.
Commenting on the budget, he said the health budget allocation for the fiscal year 2018 is very insufficient for ensuring quality health and developing infrastructure.
“The 2018 budget for the health sector is too low; from what has been submitted to the PAC has indicated less effort to support the health sector in the country,” Hon Wale, argued.
Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination has recently submitted this year’s (2018) estimated national budget allocation of $480 million to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for scrutiny.
The PAC is currently questioning ministries and institutions as part of a report it expects to produce and table in parliament prior to the 2018 parliament budget meeting. However, representatives from the Ministry of Development Planning led by the Permanent Secretary, Shadrack Fanega appeared before the Committee last week.
Honourable Wale said health services in the country are really not up to standard especially on the rural communities and remote islands in the provinces but yet nothing has shown in the submission to improve on that reality.
“Even for my own constituency which not far from Honiara has lack some medicines and drugs for patients. That would be even worse for a remote clinic like Manuopo in the Reef islands in Temotu province which located very far from the capital Honiara,” he criticised.
Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination Permanent Secretary, Shadrack Fanega admitted that that due to the limited budget allocation, their focus allocation would only to meet some very important areas given the limited time frame for implementation of the budget.
Also Spokeswoman and Director Development and Planning for the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Ms Lyn Legua said the social welfare of the country is one of the priority focuses when formulating the 2018 estimated budget allocations.
“Health and education are the key priority areas considered when formulating the 2018 budget,” she responded.
Meanwhile, Honourable MP of South Malaita Constituency, Rick Houenipwela in his previous inaugural speech when elected as Prime Minister of Solomon Islands said one of the most priorities for his new government, is to consider improvement on the health services in the rural communities knowing very well that they are the most vulnerable to health services provided by the government.
Isles Media cited media reports stating that the Solomon Islands Treasurer, who is also Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirmation that the upcoming 2018 budget is aimed at restoring fiscal stability.
“The priority for the budget is attaining fiscal stability by ensuring the execution of the budget is effective.
“The budget is expected to accommodate initiatives such as updating the Biometric Voter Registration Roll for the 2019 National Elections. Delivery of this year’s Provincial Elections is also part of the mix, as is resourcing the country’s diplomatic mission in London, the 40th Year Independence Day Celebrations and the Melanesian Arts festival.
“But Mr Sogavare signalled that finances remain very limited. Without available cash reserves or legitimate sources of additional financing, the government cannot afford a deficit budget for 2018,” according to media reports.