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Debt-free Malaita steps up

MALAITA finally cleared all its outstanding bills last week, regarding the illegal borrowing of funds from money lenders in Auki, Malaita province.

This was confirmed by the Premier of Malaita province Hon Peter Ramohia during an interview by Island Sun in Auki.

Ramohia said, “As we all aware that Malaita province has gone through a hard time in its leadership regarding issues in the province that rose in its height last year in 2016 which also ended up in a motion of no confidence.

“One of the main issues is the borrowed fund that when we came into power in January 2015 where we experienced the province has a huge debt to refund.

“The current MART government were not aware of the fact that the borrowed funds accumulate interests in every two weeks.

“We realise that the debts have increased to $SBD 5 million,” Ramohia said.

The province also has statutory debts with Solomon Power, Solomon Water and the National Provident Fund (NPF), which Premier Ramohia says his government will approach the national government to address.

He says that one of the contributing factors that tarnished Malaita was misreporting by the province’s finance division, which led to the Ministry of Provincial government (MPGIS) forfeiting 2016’s service grant for the first quarter.

This forfeiture affected Malaita’s development plans for that period; the effect continuing to be felt throughout the following quarters.

The second issue is the Auki plaza where NPF wants to invest in Malaita by demolishing the current structure and rebuilding the complex through investment.

“Just recently an outstanding debt of $995,000 from the illegal borrowing has been cleared away and malaita has free from all its debts regarding illegal borrowing.

“I assure my good people of Malaita province that we have go over this situation that Malaita Alliance Reform and Transformation (MART ) government make sure not to re-enter the situation in their remaining term in office.

“By the end of our term in 2018 or 2019 we want to leave a different picture for a new government where they will take up the office in their term after our MART led government.

“The picture is not what we inherit during we took up the office where we have to borrowed funds from business houses in Auki to organised our first assembly meetings in 2015.

“We want to leave the office without any debts; no borrowed funds for the new government to deal with and the account must have money for the new government to start off with.

“And I believe that if we implement this idea this is the first government in Malaita province for implementing this idea.

“Our main focus at the moment is we want to work on our revenues towards fulfilling these ideas.

“Malaita province is one of the biggest provinces in the country that have huge human resources and its natural resources.

“We have comparative over other provinces in terms of Human resources. That means we have high potentials on receiving higher revenues.

“Our main issue is to increase our revenue so that we may receive more than the service grant from the national government.

“At the moment the main areas we are collecting revenues from are logging fees, shipping levies and business licences.

“And now we will be looking at vehicle licences, property rates, improving logging fees and collecting port entry fees.

“We will also building an accurate data base on business activities around Malaita province.

The MART government focuses on four areas, improve revenue to the sustainability of the province, maintain to qualify for the provincial capacity development fund (PCDF) and to maintain its budget to look better for its development plans and to improve Malaita’s human resources; that includes a legal adviser and a human resource manager.

He says the final area is living within means of their budget through controlling expenditures.

“We have strict measures and monitoring should take place where the MART government believe that it is the way forward for the Malaita province from now and onwards.

“We want the MART government to live to her own name the government of reform and transformation,” Ramohia says.

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