By Adelaide Kari – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The national government recently passed a bill allowing a new body of government to be formed, called the Development District Authority (DDA).
The DDA runs on the K10 million budgeted from the District Service Implementation Fund.
The DDA was set up as an implementation body that will encourage development at a local level.
Under the DDA ACT 2014 it’states in Section 8(a) and (b) that the DDA would cooperate with the provincial government and not perform any of its functions or exercise any of its powers in a way that is inconsistent with policies and plans of the provincial government.
West New Britain Governor, Sasindran Muthuvel, said that creating a new government body would cause confusion amongst the three already established levels of government.
He also added that the DDA would be fully dependent on District Services Improvement Plan (DSIP) funds, and if funding did not come through the DDA would be handicapped.
Minister for National Planning, Charles Abel, insisted that the DDA is an implementation body that is there to bring services to the people, and that the provincial government would need to work with the authority. He said due to low oil prices the government had cut funding, giving only K5 million to districts this year.
Abel says it depends on people who head the DDA and the district members as to how they allocate money to get services to their people.
Julie Bengi from the Western Highlands Health Authority says that they hadn’t received K20 million last year and the cost of drugs and infrastructure development is high.
She said they had not discussed yet with DDAs on how they can work together, but she hopes they can help bring health services to the people.
So far only five districts of 89 have District Development Authorities set up.