Services improvement funds fueling developments: Vaki

National

THE implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) acting-secretary Aihi Vaki says services and improvement programme (SIP) funds are seen as main development agendas throughout the country.
Vaki was responding to the president of Catholic Bishops Conference, Bishop Rochus Tatamai, who called for all SIP funds to be done away with.
Tatamai said SIPs attracted greed and corruption.
Vaki said the SIP was a policy intervention which directed attention at the micro level, making impact throughout the nation.
“Since the introduction of the SIP programme, there have been a lot of impact projects such as church buildings, pastors’ houses, church-run education and health facilities, and roads and bridge infrastructures being funded through their mandated MPs,” he said.
“Government partners with churches under the Government-Church Partnership Policy that is in place.
“This includes smaller churches that receive funding from the SIP programme over the years, which were fairly distributed for the benefit of all rural villages and communities throughout the country.
“We understand churches play significant roles where government cannot reach.” Vaki said the success of the SIPs could be enhanced by putting in place robust systems and structures in districts, LLGs and wards.
He said a submission had already been made to Cabinet.
“This submission is now before the Central Agencies Coordinating Committee (CACC) to be deliberated before forwarding it to Cabinet for a decision,” Vaki said.
“I have done my part, however, the submission delivered early this year to the NEC has still been sitting there.”
Vaki said under the leadership of Minister for Finance and Rural Development James Marape, Cabinet had made a decision to park SIP funds under the DIRD.
“The justification of transferring SIP funds down to DIRD is to ensure there is good governance, and maintaining transparency and accountability,” he said.
“This is in line with the Alotau Accord 2. You submit acquittal reports, you get the money. No report, no money.
“This is the trend we applied to the constitutional grants under the Public Finance Management Act, where provinces and districts furnish compliance reports of how they spent their discretionary and non-discretionary grants of K500, 000.”

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