BOUGAINVILLE CITIZENS IN DARK ON 2008 BUDGET

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 15) - Bougainville leaders have expressed dissatisfaction over the allocation and breakdown of its 2008 budget.

House of Representative members announced at Parliament last month that the budget was unproductive, unplanned, imbalanced and unprofessional.

The ABG [Autonomous Bougainville Government] received a total funding of PGK123 million [US$45 million] which was approved and closed at the end of last month.

Hagogohe MP Robert Sawa said the late budget planning caused a lot of confusion and frustration to the Executive Council, MPs and the people.

He said Bougainvilleans must be informed on where or why their money was used because they are the budget stakeholders.

"The people of Bougainville have the right to know how the budget is being allocated to their constituency, district and community," he said.

Mr. Sawa said the recurrent expenditure budget should not be reflected as development budget for this year.

He said the recurrent budget was an appropriation from the 2007 budget which had its own money to continue the implementation of projects this year.

"We want to see the 2008 development budget. The 2008 budget is seen as an administrative budget which did not reflect the bottom up approach through the three regions," Sawa said.

Kokoda MP Rodney Job Osioco also shared the same sentiments, stating that the budget frame was not properly planned by the technical officers.

He said the budget was imbalanced and was not clear on how the money would be distributed in the districts.

"We, as members representing our people, want to see the development budget of 2008 and to know how much money had been allocated for projects in our area," he said.

Mr. Osioco added that the budget must reflect the service delivery of the Government to the people which would have impact on their lives.

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