by Bethanie Hariman – EM TV, Lae
Bulolo MP Sam Basil has raised concerns about Papua New Guinea’s foreign reserves.
He says the delay to purchase a new plane for Bulolo district to serve rural places such as Waria, has been caused by the slow release of Australian dollars from the Central Bank of Papua New Guinea.
The Deputy Opposition Leader has called on Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch to explain why it has taken three weeks for the Bank of Papua New Guinea to approve the Australian dollars for the transaction of the plane.
“We believe that some large transactions was done by the government and we believe it was done to pay back the UBS loan,” says Basil.
Three weeks ago the district administration made a drastic move to purchase its own plane to deal with its problems of getting to the people.
Mr Basil explained the process taken by the Bank of South Pacific, which is that the district has engaged in the purchase of the plane, but there has been delays to the buy.
The plane is already in Papua New Guinea, but the Bank of South Pacific needs Australian currency from the PNG Central Bank reserves to make the payment.
“As for my district, we cannot lose that plane, we need the transaction to take place so my people can benefit from that plane,” says Basil.
It is understood that Papua New Guinea’s central bank is regulating the amount of money being spent overseas, and that authorisation is now needed to spend over fifty thousand kina.
Much of the Bulolo district is separated by fast flowing rivers and mountains that often make service delivery difficult.
For those places that are closer to roads, infrastructure can be built and improved for the people.
But for rural parts of the Bulolo district the story is different, places like Garaina, Tekadu and Waria are inaccessible by road.
The new plane was to help with logistics where road including footbridges and other infrastructures in health and education are difficult to build and maintain.