THE Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination appreciates the opportunity to clarify confusion by Mr Morongoa regarding the need to review the National Development Plan and at the same time, put in perspective some ill-informed information carried therein on Minister of Development Planning’s overseas travel. Sir, Mr Morongoa will know very well that, the CNURA government only came into power in late December 2007.Prior to that and under the leadership of the previous government, the responsibility for the National Development Plan was under the mandate of the Office of the Prime Minister. However, when the CNURA government came into power in late 2007, it made the decision to re-assign the responsibility for preparation of the National Development Plan to the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination. For the information of Mr Morongoa, under the leadership of the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, the Ministry has now completed the draft National Development Plan, commonly referred to as the, ‘Medium Term Development Strategy – (2008 – 2010). This outlines government’s key priorities for the medium term, 2008 – 2010 and is now before Cabinet for final blessing. With regards to annual review of this document, it is an integral part of this very important document and the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination will embark on putting in place a mechanism for that as soon as practical after clearance from Cabinet.Secondly, Mr Morongoa has misconstrued the responsibility of the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination with Parliamentary Entitlement Regulations (PER) and the associated overseas travel, and it is important that this is put it in perspective. For information, the PER contains the entitlements for ALL members of the Parliament, and this is similar to the ‘Conditions of Service’ for any employer.These conditions apply to all members of the Parliament during their term in Parliament.We hope Mr Morongoa is aware of the rationale for any condition of service for any employer. On the other hand, the overseas travels are Ministerial obligation and duties under his mandate as Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination. Therefore, Mr Morongoa’s concerns on the Minister’s overseas travel and the PER is not only naïve but very ill-informed. We hope the brief explanation below will give him a piece of mind.Mr Morongoa, the appointment of the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, or any Ministerial portfolio for that matter, means that the respective Minister, is given a specific mandate to oversee and implement in as far as government policies are concerned, and this is apart from him being a member of Parliament. In this case, the Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination is responsible for National Development Planning and Aid Coordination matters on behalf of the government, in addition to the responsibility for his constituency as a member of Parliament. In this context, the Minister and the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination are an important interface between the government and its development partners both at the political and implementation level respectively. Therefore, it is imperative that the necessary policy dialogue, negotiation and consultations are undertaken at the highest levels (political) where necessary to demonstrate serious government commitments to implementing both its policies and at the same time, enhance Solomon Islands confidence as a country with the international community. Mr Morongoa, this cannot always happen in-country because the headquarters including decision makers of our development partners, both multilateral and bilateral, are overseas let alone the planned meetings! By the way, most of such travels are fully funded for your information.Be further informed Mr Morongoa that, in that capacity, the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination has the overall mandate to coordinate not only the national development plans and strategies, but also to coordinate the development assistance from donors and other stakeholders to support implementation of government programmes in order to ensure efficient and effective delivery of service to the people of this country. Just as an example, the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, is also the Solomon Islands Government National Authorising Officer (NAO) for ALL European Development Fund spent in Solomon Islands . In this capacity, it is obligatory that the Minister responsible attends pre-scheduled regular and annual NAO meetings, to discuss matters relating to or affecting, the implementation of these development co-operations or development partnerships, either in the Pacific Region, any ACP state or in Brussels at the European Commission’s Headquarters or wherever the relevant meetings are held. Don’t forget Mr Morognoa that Solomon Islands is part of the global community and this is just an example of government obligation with one donor – European Union. For further information, Solomon Islands has other development partners with similar commitments. Finally, the Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination equally values the responsibilities under his mandate for both government’s international and regional commitments and obligations and for national matters, especially in promoting rural and grassroot development in the country. We highly recommend Mr Morongo to listen to the radio programmes (world bilong iumi) or just buy and read a copy of the Solomon Star to know what’s happening around him.