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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 25) – The West New Britain provincial budget for 2008 is aimed at developing the remote areas of the Papua New Guinea province.

WNB Governor Peter Humphreys said the unprecedented funding through the District Support Grants in 2008 would be used to achieve this.

"The WNB government will strengthen the Technical Services Department in the province to undertake the role of scoping and monitoring of projects," Mr Humphreys said.

He said it would be foolish to spend District Support Grants on projects aimed at improving infrastructure in the districts without monitoring the projects and signing off on completion.

The governor and chairman for Finance said the 2008 provincial budget also catered for a trawler to be purchased.

Mr Humphreys described the trawler as an essential tool in the delivery and monitoring of government services to the people.

He said there would be no excuses for government personnel attending to people in the remote areas when the trawler is purchased.

Mr Humphreys said WNB was fortunate to have a strong economic base.

He said current indications projected the next five to 10 years to see an economic boom in the province.

He said his government wanted to see these benefits flow onto the people of West New Britain.

He told the assembly meeting last week that he would be addressing the issue of derivation grants with the National Government to have the grant to West New Britain province proportionate to its contribution to the national purse.

He said 69 percentof the 2008 budget totalling PGK55,444,807 [US$20.5 million] would come from government grants while 31 percent to be raised locally through taxes.

This is a decrease of K5,766.993 from the 2007 budget of K61,211,800.

The biggest slice of the 2008 budget goes to public servants’ salaries totalling K28,852,300 just under half of the total budget.

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