The Electoral Commission has been forced to revise its existing work plans due to budget cuts in the 2015 national budget.
Some programs that may be not implemented include the Electoral Roll Improvement Program and the Photo Electoral Roll Program.
This was revealed by Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen when opening a three-day workshop for election managers in Port Moresby. Commissioner Trawen told election managers that budget cuts could spell disaster for the Commission because apart from the programs to be implemented, the Commission has outstanding debts to repay.
PNGEC has budgeted K23 million to off-set its legal bills, but no funding was appropriated. It has been forced to do part payments. These bills include new and outstanding ones from the 2012 to 2014 national elections.
The Commission was appropriated K36.2 million for the recurrent budget, a reduction of K800,000 from the K37 million appropriated in 2014. It was not given any allocation for its development budget – the same story as 2014.
The Commission requested K48.9 million for its development budget to carry out the Electoral Roll Improvement Program and the Photo Electoral Roll Program; however, no funding was allocated.
Another national project that got no funding is the Boundaries Review Program. The Electoral Boundaries Commission has prepared the review program and is awaiting government funding of K19.8 million.
With all the budget cuts, Commissioner Trawen has urged all election managers to revise their work plans and work within their budget.