7 Dec 2004

Solomons prime minister defends budget

4:33 pm on 7 December 2004

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, has defended the budget, saying the country needs to learn to walk after being sick for many years.

Speaking in parliament during debate on the 2005 budget he has told MPs not to expect too much from the government and aid donors, but use what resources are available in the treasury.

He has defended the government's budget allocations for rural development, despite criticism from MPs that they are inadequate.

However a former prime minister and now opposition MP, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu, says the government is considering his petition calling for the budget to be set aside.

He says he and 31 other MPs want the budget spending to be re-prioritized.

Mr Ulufa'alu says the money should be directed to the grass roots to empower the people and give them back control of their economy.