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Renbel passes 2017-18 budget, highlights development & progress

RENNELL and Bellona province has progressed a long way after coming out from suspension in 2015.

It has performed perfectly to attain favour for the PCDF funding and is engaging in partnerships with national ministries in various projects.

The province last week, signed its budget for 2017-2018 under the approval of the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS).

The Premier of Rennell and Bellona Province, Hon Collin Singamoana, has welcomed the signing by the Provincial Government Minister of his province’s 2017/18 Budget as an expression of the national government’s growing confidence in the Renbel government following its suspension two years ago.

Hon Singamoana said this in a press statement in Honiara yesterday after the Renbel province’s appropriation ordinance 2017-18 (the province’s annual provincial budget) was signed by the Minister of Provincial Government on Friday April 31, 2017, along with the annual budgets.

Commenting on the importance of his province’s meeting the timeframe of preparing and presenting the Renbel province’s appropriation ordinance 2017/18, the Premier said this is a positive achievement given the province’s recent experience, thanking the Minister for his confidence displayed towards the Renbel executive.

“The road which my government has taken has been a rough one, having to come in and heading a new provincial assembly two years ago. It has not been easy having to face the challenges of coming and inheriting a suspended province.

“While at the same time having to face the difficulties stemming from wide ranging issues relating to mining and logging; two industries that were brought in by previous governments and while they have become potentially good revenue streams for the province, they also have potential negative social effects on the people of west Rennell who have decided to host the two industries and as well as the Renbel provincial government.”

The Renbel province continues to display a trend of slight weak performance in the PCDF assessment and this had clearly reflected the extent and nature of the difficulties experienced by the current Premier and his Executive, since coming into office.

However, the current administration, under the leadership of Premier Singamoana, has also created some positive achievements so far.

For the first time since 2012, Renbel has passed the PCDF assessment in 2016; and appears to be performing strong in the 2017 assessment.

“This is a strong indication of a trend of strong governance and administrative performance since our province came from its suspension status in 2015,” Premier Singamoana said.

Premier Singamoana stressed that his government’s focus for 2017 will be on the implementation of its development priority areas for 2016 and rolling over into 2017, which are funded under the PCDF fund.

These include the renovation of Lake Tengano clinic, the construction of the Lughu Ward 3 clinic, construction of the New Place provincial secondary school new boys hostel, and renovation of existing provincial staff houses in the province’s headquarter.

In partnership with the Ministry of Provincial Government (MPGIS), Hon Singamoana said that he is happy with the possible tendering this week of the new provincial assembly hall for the Renbel province, which will allow the speaker and members of the provincial assembly finally have a home since the establishment of the province24 years ago.

Premier Singamoana stresses that his government has used its first two years in office to create an enabling environment for development.

Thus this final two years will witness some drastic and positive changes the province has never seen before.

The Solomon Games project is progressing satisfactorily well with development of the sports multi-purpose hall and stadium in advancement.

The prospect of more funding from the PCDF funding for 2017/18 is high and very encouraging.

“Community governance and grievance management programmes continue to be progressing well with the recruitment and training of ten community officers since 2015 and the recruitment of a coordinator this year is pleasing and progressing well,” the Premier said.

The provincial government of Renbel is also pleased with its partnership on two other national programmes which are currently being implemented in the province.

Progress in the rural development programme, RDP, community project implementation is slowly progressing but satisfactorily across the ten wards of Renbel.

Another important partnership the provincial government is fostering is with the water division of the Ministry of Mines and Energy with its water adaptation project in partnership with the UNDP, known as the Solomon Islands Water Section Adaptation project, SIWSAP.

Premier Singamoana said his government’s focus for this year includes development of a women policy and gender strategy, reviewing of its provincial youth policy and its climate change policy.

These are areas that the Renbel government hopes to develop and strengthen in partnership with the community governance and grievance management project, the ministry of women, youth and children’s affairs, the Ministry of Mines’ water division, the climate change division and other stakeholders.

Another area the Premier highlighted as priority in Renbel’s development agenda 2017/18 is development of climate change policy.

Climate change is real and is obviously impacting the province and it’s high time that the province’s government and people respond to the threat, mitigating in areas needing immediate intervention.

As such, the provincial government will ensure that the policy direction of the province is established to map out its response to the threat of climate change through civic education in partnership with other stakeholders.

“While in its development agenda, the provincial government will continue to focus on outstanding issues of mining and logging which have impacted the lives of the people of west Rennell both negatively and positively and see how best the provincial government will work closely with all landowners to mitigate on issues and areas which need government attention,” Premier Singamoana said.