PNG’S DECADE OLD REFORM NOT WORKING, GOVERNOR SAYS

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PNG’S DECADE OLD REFORM NOT WORKING, GOVERNOR SAYS More problems with services and budget implementation

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 17, 2009) – The Government’s reform system is a major obstacle and setback in the delivery of goods and services to the people in the country.

Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga said that it was expected that the new reform introduced more than a decade ago would work out better in the goods and services delivery but instead, the system was worse than what it was some 20 - years ago.

Mr. Olga pointed out yesterday morning that there was a problem in the implementation of the budget by the national and provincial governments.

He made these remarks while officially opening a three-day Highlands regional workshop held in Mt Hagen city on facilitating effective service delivery through more effective budgeting and reporting which involved the Treasury Department, National Economic and Fiscal Commission (NEFC), Department of Local Level Government Affairs, Department of Finance and the provincial government.

He said that the current system in the implementation of the budget was not working and as a result, there were lots of discrepancies in the budget and as a result goods and services not reaching the people.

Olga said that at the provincial level, most provincial government did not have a budget supported by projects documentation's adding sometimes when a particular project cost about K500,000 [US$192, 000] , they only allocated K200,000 [US$77, 000] and this affected them in the implementation of the projects and delivery of goods and services to the people.

He said the system needed to be strengthened, polished up and a tool needed to be set in place to monitor the compliance in order to effectively delivery goods and services.

He said that this would ensure that public money go straight into what purpose it was intended for and added that there was no need to go on restructuring the system over and over.

Mr. Olga said that workshop conducted by the NEFC would help the implementers especially the provincial treasurers, deputy provincial administrators, and divisional heads from the five highlands provinces to improve on their budget and spending.

NEFC chief executive officer Dr Nao Badu said that during the workshop they would be looking at two important things and they were, the funding gap and priority gap.

Mr. Badu said that a survey they carried out between 2005 and 2007 clearly showed that under the funding gap, many provinces did not have the money to deliver basic goods and services.

He said that under the priority gap, some resource provinces had money but chose not to use the money on basic goods and services.

Badu said the workshop would help the provincial administrations to understand about budgeting, spending and reporting processes to make sure that the national grants given to each province equals to the services delivery to the people.

Badu said that the workshop was also a centerpiece of the implementation of the reforms to the intergovernmental financing system introduce this year.

He said that as a result of amendments to the Organic Law last year and further legislation enacted in March this year, the National Government in the next five years would increase the funding available for basic service delivery for every province and also undertaking ongoing reform of budgeting, spending and reporting process to make sure that this extra funding equals extra service delivery especially in important areas such as basic health, education and maintaining roads.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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