Proposed Law Gives Solomons’ Provinces More Responsibility

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Solomon Islands PM’s Press Secretariat Honiara, Solomon Islands

Feb. 10, 2016

Provincial Governments will be mandated with greater responsibility for the implementation of projects of local and national interest earmarked for the provinces under the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s proposed Special Economic Zone Legislation.

Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office George Kuper said this Legislation is amongst the nine Bills that the DCC Government will table when Parliament resumes for its first sitting this year.

Mr Kuper said the DCC Government has decided to take on this revised approach to ensure the smooth and timely implementation of major national projects in all the country’s nine provinces.

"The DCC Government after experiencing serious hiccups with the implementation of national projects earmarked for Malaita Province due to internal landowner issues and other local factors, reviewed its policy agenda and came up with a revised approach which gives provincial governments’ greater responsibility for the implementation of national projects in the provinces.

"We are shifting the focus from the national government to the provincial governments to facilitate for more comprehensive involvement at the provincial and constituency level.

"This revised strategy for major national projects is incorporated into the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) legislation to be tabled in the first sitting of Parliament for this year. This means that upon the enactment of the new legislation, Provincial governments will become a major player in the implementation of major projects in both the local and national interests that have been earmarked for the provinces.

"Under the SEZ Legislation, the provincial governments will also be responsible for determining the areas in each of the provinces which are to be declared as Special Economic Zones."

The Chief of Staff said, "The DCC Government deems the revised policy approach is a more conducive method to ensure the successful implementation of major national projects in the provinces as the DCC Government is working towards instilling a sense of ownership and leadership responsibility among the provincial governments as a means of driving them to play a more significant role in sorting out land-related issues."

He added that the DCC Government will establish secretariats for its flagship projects and the job of the secretariats is to coordinate the implementation of these projects by the provincial governments.

On a further note, the Policy Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (PIMEU) is also in the process of developing a strategic policy on alternative ways by which customary land can be made available for smaller scale development projects, commercial activities and the delivery of essential services that recognizes traditional land ownership but can stimulate economic growth at the rural level.

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