On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, the Minister of State along with the Local Governance Strengthening Project (LGSP) held the 8th Senior Beneficiary Working Group (SBWG) with the 5 Pilot States which include Aimeliik, Kayangel, Melekeok, Ngeremlengui and Hatohobei along with the House of Delegates, Ministry of Finance and Office of the Public Auditor. The SBWG is designed to support the implementation of the LGSP through a Working Group headed by the Minister of State and comprised of the LGSP’s Senior Beneficiaries along with national and external expert partners to consider effective implementation strategies and undertake contextualization of project intervention to meet local needs.

The rationale for the 8th SBWG provided the Minister of State, Governors, Speakers along with the House of Delegate, Minister of Finance and the Public Auditor an opportunity to review, discuss and agree on the Local Governance Strengthening Project activity implementation and timeline of work during this hard time of COVID19 outbreak within the communities. The 8th SBWG Agenda discussion included but not limited to report on LGSP Progress of Work, Public Finance Management and Pilot State Dialogue on the LGSP outcomes. The Public Auditor provided an update on the joint coordinated efforts between the Auditor’s Office, Pilot States and Bureau of Domestic Affairs towards drafting each respective Pilot State’s Public Finance Management Standard Operating Procedure. Strategies and timeline surrounding expanding and extending the outcomes of the LGSP to States outside of the LGSP was also deliberated.

In attendance of the 8th SBWG included the Minister of State, Governors and Speakers of the LGSP Pilot State, Public Auditor, Airai State Delegate, representative of the Minister of Finance, Bureau of Domestic Affairs and various key finance personnel and legislative clerks from the Pilot States. Speaker of Ngardmau State Legislature was in attendance as an observer to witness the beneficial governance and capacity strengthening programs being developed through the LGSP. Speaker of Ngardmau expressed his interest to the Minister of State for his State to receive the beneficial governance and capacity strengthening programs. Delegate of Airai also numerously expressed the need to expedite the drafting efforts for the PFM SOP to include States outside of the Pilot States. The Ministry of State applauded the Pilot States for their strong participation throughout the life of the LGSP and continued to assure the SBWG of the Ministry’s support in Project implementation. The Minister also emphasized that the institutional benefits of the LGSP includes capacity strengthening surrounding the State’s governance performance therefore it’s the State’s commitment to the local Governance Strengthening Project that makes the Project successful in activity implementation.

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