PNG TO PAY SOLDIERS OUTSTANDING ENTITLEMENTS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 1, 2000 - Radio Australia)---Papua New Guinea's Defence Council has ordered the payment of all outstanding entitlements owed to soldiers since 1989.

(See related story below)

Defence Minister Muki Taranupi said the department owes a total of $16 million (US).

He said last month the department paid out more than $26,000 in risk allowances, overseas training, clothing, and gratuity and leave entitlements.

Also, $292,000 was allocated for uniforms that are expected to be supplied to units soon.

The claims were among grievances raised by soldiers in a petition last month.

Taranupi said the Department of Treasury has agreed to release funds to settle the other outstanding claims including food, spare parts and fuel.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia

 

SOLDIERS MARCH FOR BETTER PAY

By Lucy Kapi

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 1, 2000 – The National)---More than 200 Defence Force soldiers yesterday marched to the Murray Barracks headquarters to press their demand for a 100 percent pay increase.

Following the protest, Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta summoned Defence Minister Muki Taranupi to Parliament House to discuss a demand for pay rise by PNG Defence Force soldiers.

And Sir Mekere is understood to have told Taranupi that the issue will be discussed by Cabinet at its weekly meeting today.

The soldiers who took part in yesterday's protest were from Taurama, Goldie and Murray Barracks and the Lancron naval base.

They held a similar protest in early January when they presented a set of demands to the authorities and gave them time to meet their demands.

Murray Barracks Commanding Officer Job Kasa was chased away yesterday by the disgruntled soldiers when he tried to intervene.

The soldiers carried a banner saying "100 percent pay rise for other ranks."

Col Takendu and other senior officers said the soldiers' petition was before Cabinet and a decision on the pay rise would be made today.

Minister Taranupi said at a press conference later that the Defence Council in consultation with Personnel Management had made a submission to the Salaries, Conditions and Monitoring Committee (SCMC) for an increase in pay, service allowance and temporary rental allowance.

He said the NEC was expected to make a decision on the submission today.

On January 6, the soldiers presented a petition containing seven grievances to the Defence headquarters and asked for a reply at the end of February.

The seven grievances included a 100 percent pay increase for other ranks, outstanding entitlements, accommodation, food, uniforms and equipment, Defence Force call-out and the Board of Inquiry.

Taranupi said the Defence Council -- which comprises of himself as the chairman -- the Defence Secretary, and Defence Force Commander Carl Malpo met on several occasions to address these issues.

"We have been advised as of yesterday that a joint submission from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Public Service will be before the National Executive Council," he said.

"It is now a matter for the government to make appropriate decision," he added.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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