BOUGAINVILLE DEVELOPMENT TALKS DELAYED

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BUKA, Papua New Guinea (October 17, 2000 – Post-Courier)---The Bougainville development summit scheduled to have started yesterday has been indefinitely postponed.

Governor John Momis’ office in Buka said yesterday the summit, intended to look at development issues to help foster the peace process on Bougainville, had been put off because there was no money.

Coupled with that was the fact that Bougainvillean leaders supposed to take part were busy in ongoing negotiations with the national government on the political future of the province.

Mr. Momis’ chief of staff James Togel said participant speakers had been told of the postponement but had urged leaders and officials preparing for it to continue their preparatory work. He said the summit would be held, but the date had yet to be set.

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

Provided by Vikki John ( VIKKI@law.uts.edu.au

 

HELP FOR BOUGAINVILLE COPRA GROWERS URGED AS PRICES FALL

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 16, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Bougainville leader Gerard Sinato has called on the Copra Marketing Board to seek immediate funding from the National Government to subsidize the falling prices of copra in the country.

Mr. Sinato, who is the Deputy Governor and primary industry chairman in the Interim Bougainville Provincial Government, made the call after receiving complaints from growers in the province over the low prices of copra paid at the Copra Marketing Board Buka sub depot.

Mr. Sinato said parents with children at school depend on cash crops such as copra to pay for school fees and the low commodity prices made life difficult for them.

Mr. Sinato said the interim government this year spent K 2.7 million (US$ 942,300) in school fee subsidies and school fee assistance programs.

"Bougainville has just come out of a war situation and many Bougainvilleans are still quite poor and cannot afford school fees in top-up primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary institutions as a result of the National Government user-pay policy," he said.

"This is why we decided to assist the Bougainville parents through our school fee assistance program for tertiary education and the school subsidy scheme for our own primary schools up to secondary schools," the deputy governor said.

He said the school fee assistance program, with a budget of K 1.6 million (US$ 558,400), was for students attending tertiary institutions in other provinces of Papua New Guinea and whose parents could not afford to meet the required fees.

K 1.1 million (US$ 383,900) was to subsidize parents who could not pay full fees in schools within the province.

Mr. Sinato said: "The low prices for copra being paid to growers would eventually show up early next year when thousands of students throughout Papua New Guinea would not be able to pay for their education, more so, those who depend entirely on copra."

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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