Posts Categorized: PNG Government

Lera continues support for education

By Ishmael Palipal

Students at Arawa Secondary are one future human resource of Bougainville Students at Arawa Secondary are one future human resource of Bougainville

Speaking at one of his awareness rounds in Hahela, Buka town, Hon. Joe Lera MP, revealed his plans on building an educational institution for Bougainvilleans. He believes that if we have more highly educated people, it will boost the revenue creation of the region and increase Bougainville’s output.

The Governor and Member for Regional Bougainville revealed his plans to build more institutions to help Bougainvilleans to increase the human capacity to move Bougainville forward.

He stated that only about 20% of the Bougainville population is generating taxable revenue, meaning they are working and paying tax to the government which can then be used to improve the region.

Therefore, to increase that, we should create ways to build skills and knowledge of the other 80% through building proper educational institutions and at the same time creating more job opportunities for those who are coming out of these institutions.

Many Bougainvilleans graduate with tertiary qualifications from DWU in Madang each year. Many Bougainvilleans graduate with tertiary qualifications from DWU in Madang each year.

Mr Lera has been funding students to higher institutions throughout PNG, utilising a K15 million government grant and has also led the way in setting up institutions such as the Polytechnic Institution, which is currently in the process of being built at Hutjena area in Buka town.

He believes that only if we develop the people, then we will see true changes happening in our communities. He stated that we have to focus our approaches of development into changing our people from bottom up; meaning our development must be those that benefits people and keeps them benefiting sustainably.

And he supported that by saying that education is one of this ways that we should be more focusing on because if we give them a project for a community, those educated elites are the ones that will sustain and maintain the project further.

Read more

ABG and national electoral body sign agreement for 2017

By Winterford Toreas

PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato signing the MOU in Buka last week. PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato signing the MOU in Buka last week.

 

Preparations to conduct of the 2017 National Elections in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have been boosted with the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

This small but significant ceremony which took place last week in Buka was facilitated by the PNG Chief Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato and, the acting ABG chief secretary, Paul Kebori.

Speaking after the signing of the MOU, Mr Gamato said this event marks another important occasion between PNGEC and ABG.

“The MOU is for us to use the public service machinery or staff within the Bougainville government to conduct the election,” Mr Gamato said.

“As you all know, the PNGEC does not have all the staff and the resources and so what we have normally done in past elections is to use the staff from the provincial governments or provincial administrations throughout the country including Bougainville to conduct the elections.

“This MOU strengthens that working relationship,” Mr Gamato continued,” and what we also want to see under that MOU is that they start having the election steering committee.

“[This] is normally chaired by the provincial administrators or, as in Bougainville’s case, the chief secretary or deputy chief in the province in charge of the public service, so they can start planning the conduct of the 2017 elections.”

Mr Gamato said this MOU, which will also be signed with other provincial administrations in the country, was also very important because it will also enable stakeholders from other government departments operating in each respective provinces like the police, defence and NBC radio stations to also contribute to the staging of the elections.

He also commented briefly on the need to fully establish the provincial election steering committee in Bougainville, before adding that a provincial awareness committee should also be established to start utilising recognized materials to conduct awareness throughout Bougainville.

Mr Gamato thanked the ABG for signing the MOU before adding that PNGEC will continue to work with ABG in preparing for the 2017 National Elections.

The Acting ABG Chief Secretary Mr Paul Kebori has assured Mr Gamato that ABG public servants will be allowed to participate in carrying out duties and responsibilities pertaining to the staging of the national elections in Bougainville.

Read more

Referendum a key issue at upcoming JSB meeting

By Anthony Kaybing

Momis

Bougainville’s referendum on independence will be the key issue of discussion at the Joint Supervisory Board (JSB) meeting to be held on 2 October in East New Britain Province.

Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President, Grand Chief Dr John Momis, the ABG hopes to reach an agreement with the National Government on the referendum, with the five year window from 2015 to 2020 now open.

The two parties must determine the key questions to be asked at the vote, voter eligibility and the common roll, assign a body to conduct the referendum and set the date..

“It is very clear that time is not on our side and we must move fast,” the President said.

“The ABG has already moved to implement a number of important initiatives that will strengthen the Government and public service machinery to enable it to effectively deliver services to our people and at the same time prepare them for the referendum.”

Other proposed issues to be discussed at the JSB will be the slow pace of the draw down of powers, tax revenue collections and a replacement fund to the K500 million Special Intervention Fund (SIF) in which the final tranche of K100 million will be paid in 2016.

“Given the focus of our government on economic development and fiscal self-reliance, we will propose to the National Government an investment development fund of K500 million as a replacement to the SIF,” revealed President Momis.

“We will also be discussing with the National Government possible funding options and strategies for our Kokopau-Buin Highway.

“This will be an impact project with huge economic development spin-offs for our enterprising population and an impetus for economic recovery.”

Straight after the JSB there will be a Referendum Summit to be held in the East New Britain Province.

The object of the summit is to seek a consensus and understanding amongst all key players from the National Government and Bougainville under the peace process and the way forward to staging the referendum and the aftermath issues following the referendum.

Read more

Autonomy directorate prepares for JSB meeting

By Ancitha Semoso

A meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) is proposed to be held in October to discuss overarching issues related to autonomy arrangements.

The meeting is held biannually, though the precise date of the next coming together is yet to be agreed by the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

The JSB, as stated in the Bougainville Peace Agreement Part 11 article 263-267, consists of equal number of members representing the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

The functions of the body are to oversee the implementation of arrangements for the establishment and operation of the ABG, to prepare draft legislation to further the objectives of this agreement and to finalize matters of detail and resolving any difference or disputes.

The JSB meeting is normally held twice a year to discuss overarching issues related to autonomy arrangements.

It is a primarily an avenue for consultations, resolving disputes and also involves the facilitation of processes for the drawdown of powers and functions from the PNG Government to the ABG.

The Autonomy, Implementation & Monitoring Directorate is the organizing office at the ABG level in consultation with the National Coordinated Office of Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA) at the national level.

Mr. Paul Kebori, the Chief Executive Officer for the Directorate (Autonomy, Implementation & Monitoring) and the Deputy Secretary Operations, has urged all his officers to cooperate to make necessary arrangements for this meeting to be a successful one.

With the PNG National Government’s cash constraints there is a risk that this important meeting may not go ahead.

The directorate is looking to submit a proposal seeking funding at the UN Peace Building Fund as fall-back option to continuing the JSB meetings, as Bougainville has entered the window of referendum in which there are important issues that needs to be of discussed by the ABG politicians, head of departments or directorates and the national departments.

Read more

Backing for referendum committee signals ABGs intent

By Leonard Fong Roka

525-amani-regan-siriosi

Chief Secretary, Mr Monovi Amani has stated that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) fully supports the referendum committee, as they chart the waters for a referendum to be held between 2015 and 2020.

The Referendum Committee, led by former Acting Chief Secretary, Mr Chris Siriosi met with Mr Amani on Tuesday 17 February 2015 to set out a framework for ABG support of the most vital entity under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA).

Other participants at the meeting included Paul Kebori from Autonomy and Implementation, Kearnett Nanai from the Law and Justice Sector, Lauvatu Tautea officer in charge of strategic planning for ABG and ABG legal advisor Anthony Regan.

According to the Chief Secretary, the referendum scheduled between 2015 and 2020 was entangled by an activity-laden Papua New Guinea calendar.

Despite many high profile events ahead, including the 2015 Bougainville election, 2017 National Election and the APEC meeting in 2018, Mr Amani stated that the ABG is committed to the referendum.

Mr Chris Siriosi outlined that there were needs that the ABG should now focus on and now is the time to operationalize tasks to be undertaken in order to execute the referendum.

“PNG and Bougainville must agree and set a date for the referendum,” Mr Siriosi told the meeting.

“Both governments also must come up with a logical measurement scheme for the weapons disposal process on Bougainville. They need to set it out and agree on it.”

Siriosi believes the immediate task for the Bougainville government is to set up a referendum office, sort out the job roles and pass them through the Bougainville Gazette.

The ABG should continuously brief the PNG and all sides of Bougainvillean politics, as well as providing a report to the upcoming Joint Supervisory Board (JSB) meeting scheduled for Arawa on the 13 March 2015.

The ABG also needs to establish an effective framework for consultation with the people of Bougainville, which is still lacking for the crucial referendum. The government must also provide feedback on the UN referendum specialist report and prepare for the JSB discussions on referendum.

Read more

NZ and Aus provide support for 2015 general election

518-electoral-support-team

A Joint International Team is working with the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to support the 2015 Bougainville elections.

The ABG and PNG Government have expressed to international partners a strong desire to deliver free and fair elections to the people of Bougainville. In close consultation with the PNG Electoral Commission, the ABG has formally requested international technical assistance to assist with preparations and capacity building for the 2015 elections.

A joint international team of Australia and New Zealand technical election experts began deploying in early February 2015.

New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, Mr Tony Fautua, stated that his country was keen to support Bougainville.

“New Zealand recognises the challenges facing the ABG in undertaking this election and is pleased to respond positively to the request from the Bougainville Electoral Commission to help meet their commitment to holding a free and fair election,” Mr Fautua said.

The international technical experts will work with Bougainville Electoral Commission staff in Buka, Arawa and Buin. The assistance will include training, election operations, the electoral roll database, logistics, procurement and voter awareness.

“As part of a multi-national effort, Australia’s assistance will support efforts by the Bougainville Electoral Commission to undertake credible and transparent elections,” said Ms Deborah Stokes, Australian High Commissioner to PNG.

The joint international team will work in Bougainville for approximately four months, until the conclusion of the election period.

Read more

SIF allocation reduced for 2015

95-albert-punghauBy Veronica Hannette

The Autonomous Bougainville Government will receive a funding allocation of K70 million from the Special Intervention Fund (SIF) in 2015.

At the Joint Supervisory Board meeting the National Government offered to pay K30 million to the restoration development grant arrears, but said it will cut down the K100 million from the SIF in 2014 to K70 million for 2015.

Finance and Treasury Minister, Hon. Albert Punghau MP, stated that this has put the ABG in a very difficult position with funding projects and supporting the districts.

The K70 million go towards the program management unit, 2015 ABG elections, community government/Councils of Elders, security, peace and reconciliation and weapons disposal.

The administrative service centre infrastructure under the governance and administration has been allocated K13 million. The key areas of infrastructural improvement, health, law and justice infrastructure and education, will each receive an allocation of K2 million.

Panguna mine negotiations and the economic sector (which includes the Manetai limestone project) have been allocated K3 million.

Read more

United Nations team reports on referendum issues

By Leonard Fong Roka

514-un-bougainville-referendum

A United Nations team from New York presented on the Bougainville referendum Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) to Papua New Guinea Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc, at Morata House in Port Moresby on 13 February 2015.

The NAM presentation outlined the findings from the team’s one week tour of Bougainville and was also attended by Acting CEO of the Bougainville’s Referendum Office, Mr Chris Siriosi, and Bougainville Acting Electoral Commissioner, Mr George Manu.

The UN team specialises in post-crisis referendum issues and was led on their PNG tour by Hemansu-Roy Trivedy, United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator.

The team summarised that the Bougainville referendum was not bogged with serious problems on the ground but needs harmonious leadership from Bougainville and PNG, which is keen to address the people’s problems once and for all.

A key area that requires improvement is the identification of eligible voters and the options to be voted on at the referendum ballot.

The team said that the United Nations will support Bougainville in its referendum process.

The Government of PNG, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Referendum Office must now work seriously to establish an independent authority to deal with the referendum.

According to the team, the UN will now prepare for involvement with the 2015 ABG General Election after an earlier request for assistance from both the national and Bougainville governments.

Mr Chris Siriosi told the meeting that Bougainville had now to get facts related to the coming referendum and dispatch them to people across Bougainville.

“The Bougainville government’s task, through the referendum office, is now to get educational facts of the issue of referendum and bring them to the people so that they know the seriousness of the issue,” Mr Siriosi said.

Read more

Expanded public service to receive increased funding in 2015

95-albert-punghauBy Veronica Hannette

The new Bougainville public service has seen a substantial increase to its budget for 2015 to cater for rising operational costs.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) requested and received an increase to its allocation from the Government of Papua New Guinea.

The ABG received an allocation amount of K20.8 million for vital parts of its government mechanism.

ABG Finance and Treasury Minister, Hon. Albert Punghau MP, stated that with the allocation given new departments have been provided with an increase in funds, ranging from the headquarters down to the districts.

“This will give secretaries opportunity to control and manage their departments,” Minister Punghau said.

Read more

Bougainville on track for election despite funding confusion

By Winterford Toreas

Preparations are on track for the upcoming 2015 ABG General Election despite the late release of funds to conduct the election.

“I can assure the people of Bougainville that our preparations and programs are on track,” said George Manu, the Acting Electoral Commissioner.

“The only thing holding us up a bit is that the government is yet to release funding to conduct the election.

“As the commissioner I have asked the government to release half of the money, which we had requested in January, but we are still waiting,” he continued.

“January is already gone and we are still waiting, if they do not give us that money, it will delay the programs that we are supposed to be carrying out.”

Manu recently met with the authority responsible for releasing that money and instructed them to release funding within the first two weeks of February.

“Only me, as commissioner, will press the panic button,” Mr Manu said.

Read more