PNG PM Says No Cuts To Province And District Services Funds Despite Initial Reports

PM said the devolution of authority to provinces and districts continues to be a core priority for the National Government, claims lower fund reports due to disbursement reflecting remaining time in the year

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, September 21, 2017) – There will be no cuts to province and district services (provincial services improvement program and district services improvement program) funds, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

He said in a statement yesterday that 2017 was almost over therefore Governors and Members of Parliament will receive only K2 million [US$609,000] each, two months of their PSIP and DSIP funds this year.

Mr O’Neill, who is in New York for the United Nations’ General Assembly, expressed confidence that the Supplementary Budget will be tabled when Parliament meets, starting on Monday, September 26.

He said the supplementary budget was necessary to balance the budget due to the adjustments in revenue collection, and more importantly, to reprioritise expenditure to focus on the key development agenda.

“The 2017 Budget plan was based on commodity prices for our exports together with revenue generation,” the Prime Minister said.

“We are still in a challenging global economic environment with a slow rebound in commodity prices, and this places pressure on expenditure.

“We will continue to adjust and reprioritise expenditure to ensure that we protect and build on the gains we have achieved in the past five years in healthcare, education, infrastructure, law and order and empowerment of our people.

“The continued investments in these areas is vital to our long-term development and improving the lives of our people.”

The Prime Minister said the devolution of authority to provinces and districts continues to be a core priority for the National Government.

“Our DSIPs and PSIPs are vital to achieving our development objective right around the country,” he said.

“For the first time in history, our government has been getting funds directly to our districts and provinces where our people live.

“People forget that under past governments, no such funding was given to districts and provinces.

“Our DSIP and PSIP policy has seen restoration and development of our district and provinces, and our government is committed to these two programs.”

Mr O’Neill said that in the Supplementary Budget, the government was not cutting DSIP and PSIP funds; “That is certainly not the intention of the government.

“Because we have only two months left in the fiscal year 2017, the government is providing K2 million for each district and province.

“The balance will be paid to the districts and provinces over the term of this parliament.

“These two programs are an integral part of our development agenda, and we have seen these programs deliver real change,” he said.

PNG Post-Courier
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