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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Malaitans must be self-reliant and have vision to achieve development: deputy premier

Malaita Province lacks development because money donors give for development activities becomes “dead” due to lack of vision or planning by locals over the future of their aid funded projects. Malaita Provincial deputy premier Wilfred Maeluma made this statement during a public forum held in Auki, Malaita Province on Friday last week.

Mr Maeluma said between SI$25million and SI$40million were injected in Malaita by donors in the form of community projects last year. “This money didn’t come into the provincial government. It went directly into the community. So the people in the community should know where the money has gone, what projects have been funded and why they have not resulted in employment for Malaitans,” the deputy premier said.

He said had this money utilised properly there would be development, creation of jobs and investment opportunities. Unfortunately, he said none of these happened because of lack of vision or plan of what to achieve from the projects that were funded.

“The provincial government is very concerned about the lack of development in the province. There is no reason why we should not have a lively economy with enough jobs to satisfy our population. The provincial government cannot create the jobs or businesses. That is not the job of the government,” Mr Maeluma said.

However, having seen the lack of development activities in the province, Mr Maeluma said the provincial executive had taken the step to facilitate and coordinate people in Malaita to achieve their own development and create their own opportunities. “The provincial government itself has no resources, but it could still do a number of things.”

And three of the things Mr Maeluma highlighted were:
First, the provincial government had to ensure that the donor money that comes into Malaita is well spent. “That it doesn’t become dead money but is used to put life into our economy. To do this we must be able to speak to the national government, donors and international agencies on what to do to achieve development in Malaita. We must also ensure that development activities are coordinated, that projects are well set up to succeed and are able to get technical assistance when they need it,” the deputy premier said.

Secondly, he said his government had to ensure economic development will not result in disharmony and conflict within communities. “We have had enough conflicts,” the deputy premier said. “Conflict arises when people are unhappy about the way they are living their lives - and economic development does not necessarily mean happiness.”

Finally, he said Malaita people must learn to be self-reliant. “Dependency devalues takes away our options and our choices.” He said Malaitans must move away from the expectation that someone else is responsible for delivering the things they want. “They must be encouraged to see that they themselves can take control of their own lives, their own development, their own future. “We couldn’t go on waiting for someone else to bring us development, we need to do something for ourselves”, said Mr Maeluma.

Source: Solomon Star

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