Bougainville “good news” Story: 2014 has been a very progressive year for Central Bougainville

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The current government’s free education policy has seen increase in the number enrolments at schools around Central Bougainville. Numbers of schools are also on the increase and this means that more money must continue to put into education every year. Bougainville has missed out on education during the crisis and we have to bridge the gap created when children could not go to school during the troubled period.

What we need is a broader based economy instead of just relying on extractive industries that may run out one day. One of the biggest assets Bougainville has is its people who are creative and innovative. This is why there must be emphasis in putting a lot of money into education.

Picture above : A new classroom building funded by member for Central Bougainville, Jimmy Miringtoro at Raiovi Primary School Wakunai District, Our thanks to Chris Baria for assistance with this article

Good things ahead-On the Sunny Side

This year 2014 has been a very progressive year for Central Bougainville. The region started the year on a positive note with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill visiting all three regions of Bougainville including Central. During his visit he made a commitment to the people of Bougainville to fund high impact projects, several of which are in Central Bougainville.

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These are the water and sanitation restoration for Arawa Town, the Aropa Airport re-opening and the other major project is of course the sealing of Bougainville Coastal Trunk from Buka to Buin.

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This is a clear indication of commitment that the National Government with the support our four Bougainville MPs has a strong desire to see the Autonomous Region of Bougainville prosper in the coming years.

We have come a long way since the peace agreement was signed and there is a lot to be done as yet for Bougainville to achieve what was agreed to in the peace process. In Central Bougainville we have devoted a lot of time and money in improving education by providing more classrooms to accommodate ever increasing number enrolments in schools in the bid to bridge the gap left by the Bougainville crisis.

Education is one of the priority sectors that the government is putting money into along with Health, Infrastructure Development, Law and Order and Business Development. Health centers and aid-posts are also receiving funds from my electoral office. The police in Arawa have benefited from a vehicle allocation from the office of Member for Central as part of his community efforts to enhance the law and order sector. Funding has also been made available to the local Business Association as a form of assistance to grow small businesses in Central Bougainville.

Rural Communications Project and Integrated Government Information System (IGIS)

The government has already rolled out a rural communications project. You many have noticed new towers set up in areas that were not formerly serviced by mobile phone network. By the end of 2015 the government hopes that Bougainville will have more than 50% mobile network coverage that will include data, Internet and telephony. By 2016 Bougainville should have 100% mobile network coverage including remote and rural locations, which are not service by roads.

The main aim of the Rural Communications Project is to provide access to telecommunications and other ICT services including TV, internet, FM Radio and Data storage and transmission to rural and remote locations that lack these services.

The government has also established the “integrated government information system” or IGIS for short. This is the forerunner of e-government for Papua New Guinea. Under this ICT infrastructure all government departments and divisions will be interlinked through a computer network, which also has a data bank. This will prevent duplication and enable data and information sharing with ease.

Information can be stored at central location where those who need it and/or if they require it. The Rural Communication Project roll out will establish communication network that will become integrated into IGIS and link up all local level governments with the main government network and data center. This will mean that leaders will have to be more transparent in their work because the people will be able to monitor their performance online through IGIS.

Supporting sustainable development

Papua New Guinea is heavily reliant on logging, minerals, oil and gas for its revenue generation. These industries while they may bring economic boom to a country do have large problems associated with them and for one thing they are non-renewable, and finite and therefore unsustainable. Central Bougainville has had its taste of mining activity during the 70s and 80s.

What we need is a broader based economy instead of just relying on extractive industries that may run out one day. One of the biggest assets Bougainville has is its people who are creative and innovative. This is why there must be emphasis in putting a lot of money into education.

The current government’s free education policy has seen increase in the number enrolments at schools around Central Bougainville. Numbers of schools are also on the increase and this means that more money must continue to put into education every year. Bougainville has missed out on education during the crisis and we have to bridge the gap created when children could not go to school during the troubled period.

Kindles a revolutionary literacy tool in Bougainville schools

In another first for Central Bougainville and in fact Papua New Guinea,James Tanis (former Bougainville President) has established Book-Gain-Ville E reader Revolution in a number of schools in Central Bougainville including Nariana, St. Judes Pok Pok Island, Dareenai Kavearonau and Piruana .

It was launched as  an initiative to improve literacy throughout Bougainville.

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Each Kindle can hold up to 1,400 books and by the end of 2014 there will over 50 kindles in 11 Bougainville schools. To date there has been no government support but hopefully in 2015 with the support of Government and NGO’s more schools can get these E reader libraries

See Website for more details or make a donation  http://www.bookgainville.com/

Government Development Priorities

As part of its continuing commitment the National Government development policy covers five development sectors, which are in, line with its Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP). These are also applicable to Bougainville. These sectors are Health, Education, Infrastructure, Law and Order and Small Business. In line with this plan Bougainville MPs have funded a number of health facilities. In Central this includes Manetai and Wakunai Health Centres and a number of village level aid posts in the rural communities.

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In the health sector, the office of MP for in Central has also funded ambulances to all major health centres in Central Bougainville. More money has been spent on building classrooms and other school infrastructure to cater for the increase in the number of enrolments over the years.

With regard to infrastructure, considerable amount of money is being used on feeder road maintenance including, for the first time a new road into remote and densely populated area in Paruparu previously inaccessible by road. A considerable level of funds has also allocated to restoration of Aropa Airport, which is about to be opened soon. PNG Power also received funding to provide power to Arawa town, Kieta port and to the new Kieta Distict entre in Toniva. Up to K1million has been committed to the Central Bougainville Business Association to assist small business in the region.

Looking ahead

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Children are our future

Lot of work has been done to provide much needed infrastructure such as roads, schools, and of course the soon be reopened Aropa Airport. Services such as health and education continue to more draw more funds from the government through my electoral office and the treasury.

A lot more needs to be done to improve current services and to build more roads and schools. The government is ready to help out in anyway it can. However, there are certain areas where the community can contribute to the development process. For example, in order for feeder roads to last longer, drains need to kept clear of debris and grass has to be cut along the roadside. A little preventive maintenance can make a lot of difference.

Same goes for schools. Parents and community must devote sometime to do maintenance work, cleaning and grass-cutting in the school areas. The community must help to look after what the government has provided for them. The government cannot be expected to do everything. In order for us to move ahead it requires joint effort by all.

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