Bougainville Economic News: Grand Chief Momis wants to jumpstart economic activities that will transform to economic growth

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“Let us be realistic and practical this time. Let us learn to accept realities and work for solutions and alternatives. Let us stop dwelling on problems, but instead come up with solutions,” President Momis said.

“We all know that we have been denied what is constitutionally and legally ours on matters of funding. This government will continue to work through diplomatic channels and if necessary, the courts to demand what is due us,”

“With this in mind, we work on the premise and framework that at this time we have limited resources

ABG President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis economic statement (see below )

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s third House met on 21st July) for the first time as it begins its five year tenure.

In his first address to the third House’s first sitting, ABG President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis told the new members that they all share the same honor and privilege of having been chosen by the people of Bougainville to lead and provide them with a better life and a better future.

“Our people see in us the workers with responsibility for the realization of their dreams and aspirations, more than ever they want us to amplify their voice as they shout to be freed from the grip of poverty and marginalized life,” the President said.

“They want us to create meaningful and sustainable projects for them to breathe a little and ease their pain and suffering, they want us to create laws, policies and programs that will raise their dignity as persons,” he said.

The President went on to say that the people would like their leaders to guarantee that their children of the next generation shall overcome better than they are today, they want us to get them out of the depths of the poverty so they can gradually enjoy in the next years decency in food, clothing, shelter and education for their children.

President Momis said that he expects the third Autonomous Bougainville House of Representatives to make a difference as he reiterated the six major tasks that his government would be addressing.

The six major tasks outlined by the Momis led Government are Unification of all Bougainvilleans, Improving welfare of all Bougainvilleans by promoting appropriate economic development, Securing Bougainville’s future by fully implementing the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement: achieving full autonomy, preparing for the referendum and achieving complete weapons disposal.

These also include Promoting good governance and the rule of law and ending corruption, Public Awareness and Improving basic services, as outlined by the President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis during his inaugural address in June.

“During the Crises we were one, we stood our ground and we fought and made sacrifices but unfortunately instead of emerging as a rejuvenated community we disintegrated and went our different ways, we were all weakened and paralyzed by the absence of a culture we once had as Melanesians,” the President said.

“Today I stand before you to pose this challenge to each and every one of you, let us not fail our people, let us not abandon our people, we have heard enough, seen enough, discussed enough-this is the time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and soil our hands.

Momis on Economic Development

Since the formation of the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in June a new Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development was created in order to fast track economic projects and activities.

ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis said that creating favourable economic conditions will jumpstart economic activities that will transform to economic growth and in turn will provide the basis for the ABG to have the basis for fiscal self-reliance through its own taxes.

“Let us be realistic and practical this time. Let us learn to accept realities and work for solutions and alternatives. Let us stop dwelling on problems, but instead come up with solutions,” President Momis said.

“We all know that we have been denied what is constitutionally and legally ours on matters of funding. This government will continue to work through diplomatic channels and if necessary, the courts to demand what is due us,” the President added

“With this in mind, we work on the premise and framework that at this time we have limited resources.

The President has already issued directives to the ABG Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development to start an inventory of what it has in resources, identify all potential internal sources of revenue and determine the gap between what we have and what we want to achieve.

The two ministries must also act on narrowing the gap, formulate policies and laws to raise revenue, implement policies and laws on control and proper fund management, increase savings mechanisms in our operation and define guarantees for our domestic and international investors.

“I must make it clear, here and now, that we need both those domestic and foreign investors. Domestic investors in Bougainville are already doing much. We have significant local investment in large and small stores, in guest houses, in PMVs, in construction of buildings and roads and many other sectors,” the President said

These local investors who have taken many risks since the conflict ended, need for more support and encouragement and developing plans and mechanisms for the incentive they need must be a major focus of our new ministry.

For the most part, foreign investors will be encouraged to operate in other sectors where domestic investors do not have the capacity.

“Fiscal self-reliance is a tall order at this point in time. Yet, I firmly believe that when we work together purposively and want it badly enough we can achieve it,” Momis said

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