Bougainville News: Does the PNG Government currently owe the Autonomous Bougainville Government over K200 million ?

PM PNG
 

The PNG government will continue to honour its commitment in releasing K100 million annually for the remaining four years.

The national government in 2012 made a commitment to allocate K500 million over a five-year period, to rehabilitate infrastructure throughout Bougainville.

However, despite the first K100 million funding being released, last year (2013), nothing much has been done there,”

PNG Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said in a recent radio interview (see below)(picture above traditional welcome to Bougainville February 2014)

The Papua New Guinea National Government currently owes the Autonomous Bougainville Government over K200 million under the Restoration Development Grants.

This was revealed this week (30 June 2014) by the ABG president Chief Dr John Momis during the opening of a double classroom at Tilowa Primary School when he was talking about the transfer of powers to the Council of Elders

He told the people who gathered for that special occasion that this money under the Bougainville Peace Agreement belongs to Bougainville but the National Government was underpaying us.

He said after calculations were made, ABG found out that the National Government owes us over K200 million.

The president said if ABG gets that money, they will then look at ways to help the Council of Elders

in terms of increasing their funds.

He explained that in this way, the Council of Elders will be empowered to look after their own law and order issues, education

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill today (6/02/14) expressed the National Government’s gratitude towards the leaders and people of Bougainville for their kind welcome and generous hospitality, during his delegation’s recent visit to the region.

He said this during an interview on the FM100 Talkback Show, in Port Moresby and outlined the government’s commitment to assist Bougainville with infrastructure rehabilitation funding.

“The government will continue to honour its commitment in releasing K100 million annually for the remaining four years.

“The national government in 2012 made a commitment to allocate K500 million over a five-year period, to rehabilitate infrastructure throughout Bougainville.

“However, despite the first K100 million funding being released, last year (2013), nothing much has been done there,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.

The Prime Minister said the monetary allocation was committed entirely to rehabilitate the rundown infrastructure throughout the region.

He also said the funding allocated last year was given to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and it is solely responsible for acquitting the funds.

“There are also Special Resolution Grants sitting in trust accounts that need to be spent on upgrading infrastructure there,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.

He said with the history of the crisis and loss of lives it was important for the national government to go back and engage with the people of Bougainville and apologize traditionally for all the hardship created, not only for Bougainville but for PNG as well. “I believe these issues could have been better managed before it got out of hand.

“It has been an eye-opening experience for a national government delegation which I led into the region recently,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.

He thanked the ABG, particularly President Chief Dr John Momis and his Cabinet, along with the four MPs of Bougainville for their partnership and dedication in putting aside their differences and working together to move Bougainville forward.

“I also met with the President of the Me’ekamui Government, Philip Miriori, and other leaders including the Panguna landowners like Laurence Daveona and Sam Kaona,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the government still respects the Arawa Peace Agreement signed in 2001 and looks forward to implementing it. “Our aim of going to Bougainville was to try and restore government services in the region.

“We want our hospitals to be functioning well in Bougainville, the roads upgraded and sealed, and the Aropa Airport reopened,” the Prime Minister said.

“The government has already opened the Port in Kieta and has re-established PNG Power to distribute power throughout Arawa town,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced.

The president of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, John Momis, says his government is considering suing the national government for what he says is its failure to meet the terms of the Peace Agreement.(Interview July 2013)

He says the lack of money is stalling preparations for the referendum on possible independence, which is a key part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

That vote is likely in 2016 and Mr Momis told Don Wiseman Bougainvilleans need to be more self reliant or seek financial help elsewhere if the national government does not meet its commitments.

JOHN MOMIS: The people of Bougainville must realise that that event, that important political moment in the history of Bougainville is quite imminent. As a matter of fact, next year the ABG, their own house of representatives, will determine the actual date of the referendum. So whilst we’re experiencing a lot of problems in respect to assistance from the national government, we need to get ourselves organised and be more self-reliant, even in terms of sourcing funds from outside. Because we are not having a very successful engagement with the national government. They seem to be having no qualms or conscience and consistently breaching the Bougainville Peace Agreement. So the only way to motivate our people is to say, look, we have to be ready. It’s like saying the grand final date is on, and, whether we are ready or not, we have to play in the grand final. We made the commitment so we better get ourselves organised.

DON WISEMAN: When you say that the national government is breaching the peace agreement, there was a lot of good feeling toward the end of last year and the government came through with those very large commitments they had made. So are you suggesting there’s been a backtracking since then?

JM: There’s been quite a bit of backtracking, yes. Even last year the $100 million the government promised only came to us in November towards the end of the year. It doesn’t give us much time to implement, especially when the Bougainville administration doesn’t have the capacity. And this year, we haven’t go this year’s allocation yet. And the restoration and development grant, which is stipulated in the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which is sub-constitutionally guaranteeing the allocation of funds which should be given to us every year – they have been under paying us deliberately. We worked out that, in fact, the national government owes us something like approximately $188 million. That is the only guaranteed funding to Bougainville. They’ve been severely underpaying us.

DW: And that’s separate from the commitment of 500 million kina that was made?

JM: Yes, 500 million for the next five years – that’s a political commitment the national government made. Whereas the restoration and development grant is constitutionally stipulated. The national government has no choice but to give it. In fact, we are seriously thinking of taking them to court for such a massive breach, which creates a lot of doubt in the minds of Bougainvilleans about the national government’s goodwill

 

3 comments on “Bougainville News: Does the PNG Government currently owe the Autonomous Bougainville Government over K200 million ?

  1. From Simon Pentanu Via facebook

    Leaving aside all the political rigmarole and goings on at the national level with the police and in the Courts, from all indications this PM is Bougainville’s best hope to deliver the projects, programs, services and the development infrastructure that has been long overdue.

    The PM went, saw, pledged, returned, and he has kept up a continuing interest to give visibility to his pledges and promises with ABG. His statements and demeanour following his visit to all ARoB regions has been of a leader who walked the walk and talked the talk and cast aside all this tit for tat politics between Kubu and Waigani. He has reason to bear it all with a smile, if he is thinking Buka ring road, Buka to Arawa highway, Arawa-Aropa- Buin highway, etc

  2. Jesryl Ivo’son posted from Facebook

    I only want them prove it by opening Aropa Airport with that K30 million they allocated. Otherwise I am Kieta Kong and not convinced one bit by all the bulshit. So far the png govt has paid the first K100 million late November and by the way they’re going, they’re gonna make more delays. How could the png govt and the international observers and the media keep on putting nothing but verbal pressure on ABG to prepare for referendum. I think its a bad recipe.

  3. Judging by history the PNG Government has had a habit of failing to fulfil commitments. If it does fulfil its commitments history has also shown that in doing so it has a habit of breaching initial terms and conditions of any particular commitment.

    In saying this I believe the Government has deliberately delayed fulfilment of its financial commitment and when it does come through, the terms and conditions under which the K500 million was initially pledged to Bougainville will have changed. Already the Bougainville Parliament’s powers of decision making have been made a mockery of. A budget that was passed by the ABG Parliament based on the funding pledged to Bougainville has had to be re-scoped as a result of a meeting of a few Technocrats from the ABG and PNG Government because certain terms regarding the financial pledge have been altered. It is clear to me that the powers of the ABG (which were practically not that much to start with) or what little powers that the ABG had are already being eroded and the National Government is clawing back at what little was given to the ABG to begin with. If the ABG parliament can pass policy while a few technocrats wield the power to influence retrospective changes, who is it really that is running Bougainville?

    The spirits of 20,000+ people who died, the kids that were born under the trees, the women that were raped, the Bougainvilleans that fought demand that serious consideration be given to our political independence. Bougainville will never be free as part of Papua New Guinea – we need no further proof than the war that was waged on Bougainville, and blockade that was imposed on our people, and the autonomous arrangements Bougainville currently has. Bougainville will never be free until it separates itself from the rule of the PNG Government – FREEDOM FOR BOUGAINVILLE!

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