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Rini Clarifies Media Report on RCDF Payment


PRESS RELEASE

Rini Clarifies Media Report on $100,000 RCDF Payment


The Minister of Finance and Treasury, Snyder Rini, has clarified a recent payment of $100,000 to each Member of Parliament that had been reported in the media.

Minister Rini today clarified that the claim in the media that the $100,000 payment to each of the 48-Members of Parliament was an advance for the first quarter of 2009 was incorrect.

He explained that a total of $5 million had been made available by contingencies warrant for expenditure in the current fiscal year as the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) contribution and counter-funding to the Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF). Total funding for the RCDF is normally provided as a grant by the Government of the Republic of China.

Finance Minister Rini further justified the $100,000 payment to each constituency as one best possible vehicle to delivering the Government’s programmes and commitments during this year, given the huge challenges and time constraint faced by the Government.
Mr Rini further clarified that the $100,000 payment to each of the Members of Parliament was actually transferred to their respective RCDF accounts, normally administered and managed by representatives of their constituencies - not to the MPs’ personal bank accounts as alleged.

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“I have had the Treasury staff confirmed and verified that the $100,000 payments were transferred by bank instruction to the Constituencies bank accounts.” Finance Minister Rini said.

Mr Rini also refuted claims that the Government has diverted the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) funds to pay politicians. He explained that all payments by the government for goods and services are made from the Consolidated Fund.

He says as such the suggestion that funds are diverted from within one Consolidated Fund and one funding source is absurd and generally reflects the informants’ inadequate knowledge of government budgeting and financial management.

Finance Minister Rini confirmed that COLA and the $5 million contribution and counter funding to RCDF are totally two different allocations. The SIG’s contribution to RCDF had been approved and paid via a contingencies warrant while COLA has not yet been approved by Cabinet.

Mr Rini also confirmed that provisional allocation for COLA is provided in the 2008 Supplementary Budget now being tabled in Parliament.

Ends


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