PNG Budget To Focus On Provinces’ Financial Autonomy
By Isaac Nicholas
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 19, 2012) – The Papua New Guinea 2013 Budget that will be handed down by Treasury Minister Don Polye tomorrow will see a major shift of the resource envelope to give "financial autonomy" to districts and provinces, but prudent management and accountability issues remain a major concern.
The Governors that gathered at the annual Governors Conference at March Girls Resort at Gaire village outside Port Moresby last week highlighted accountability issues that must be addressed immediately by the National Government.
This is one of 15 resolutions the Governors passed after the two-day conference.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill when opening the conference last Thursday assured all the 22 Governors that the 2013 Budget will now centre and contain significant development funding for the Provincial Governments, which represents a major change in the allocation of funding.
The governors acknowledge and appreciate the National Government’s intention to strengthen Provincial and Local Level Governments to deliver basic services, and requested the need to improve Inter-government financing as fundamental to development.
The governors resolved and recommended that the National Government release provincial grants on a timely basis and also on a quarterly basis with 40 percent in the first quarter, 30 percent in the second quarter, 20 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent in the final quarter.
The governors said although they supported District Services Improvement Program (DSIP), they expressed concern about prudent management and use of these funds, because in many cases there were no tangible results to show for the use of these public funds.
The governors resolved that laws, systems and processes that govern the use of the funds be reviewed and amended and proposed amendments to ensure that:
The Governors Conference noted the proposed amendments to the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments and resolved that a specific meeting be organised by Department of Provincial Affairs to discuss the details of the proposal.
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