Solomons ex-militant funding not a cash cow
The Solomon Islands Ministry of National Unity Reconciliation and Peace says the US$375,000 paid last week to an association representing ex-militants will not be accessible to its members as cash payouts.
The Solomon Islands Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace says the US$375,000 paid to an association representing ex-militants will not be accessible as cash payouts.
Its permanent secretary, Justus Dinn, says the money is to go towards training and counselling services to help ex-combatants reintegrate into communities.
Mr Dinn told Koroi Hawkins the recent allocation for ex-Malaita Eagle Force members of the Solomon Islands Post Conflict Rehabilitation and Restoration Association is consistent with government's policy.
JUSTUS DINN: This is the initial assistance as the starting for this programme, this rehabilitation and reintegration development programme which the ministry is working on. And we submit to cabinet in the New Year after early 2016.
KOROI HAWKINS: Right and so is it funding that is available for ex MEF members to pick up or is it funding that is going towards the programme. Like is it programme funding?
JD: It is an initial assistance as part of this programme.
KH: So if I was an ex-MEF member and I was a member of this association I could put in a claim for a sum of money to help me with a project for example. Is is that the way it works?
JD: The government will be working with this association. The government will be a member of SIPCCRA to be eligible to benefit out of this program. And to be a member of SIPPCRA you have to be holding an amnesty certificate which is issued to ex-combatants after they surrendered their weapons as required by the Townsville Peace Agreement.
KH: Right and what kind of assistance would people with these certificates be able to access or apply under?
JD: We haven't, we haven't finalised the details of the programme but it will definitely not be in total cash. So we are looking at some kind of mind shifting or transformation training and livelihood or skills based training. And a small livelihood support project.
KH: And this first lot of funding as you said is for ex MEF or Malaita Eagle Force members. What is happening with the ex IFM members?
JD: Are they getting an allocation as well or how is that going? The ministry has been meeting with the ex IFM representatives and we are working on getting them to organise themselves and to be part of this rehabilitation or reintegration program.
KH: Where does the sum come from? The 3 million how do you budget for that? What does that involve, is their a breakdown is that a pitch that you have made to the government? Or a budgetary application for that amount?
JD: The current DCC government one of its policy priorities is rehabilitation of ex combatants. So as a result there is a budgetary allocation of 3 million dollars in the ministry's development budget estimate for rehabilitation of ex-combatants in the form of sustainable development. So that 3 million is from that budget allocation.
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