by Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Investigations into the disbursement of Tuition Fee Free funds to schools have shown possible instances of misuse.
This was revealed today by Chief Secretary to Government, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc, who presented the report to the Auditor General to make findings.
Sir Manasupe said the Department of National News will need to make significant improvemen’s for the Government’s Free National News Policy to be effectively implemented.
Using his powers under Section 21 of the PM&NEC Act 2012, Sir Manasupe had approved and appointed a team of 4 investigators to look into the basis of complaints related to late disbursemen’s, partial paymen’s and nil paymen’s to some schools.
The Investigation team consulted widely and assessed various documen’s provided by the Department of National News, and consulted Provincial Administrators, National News Advisors and Head Teachers.
Sir Manasupe said the Tuition Free National News Policy is an ambitious policy that has been in effect for 3 three years. As with new policies, there are bound to be some early problems but what matters is the identification of those problems and work on fixing them.
Some of the recommendations from the report include the need to establish a government committee to oversee the implementation of the policy, proper enrolment data, the ban on project fees to be lifted and the Commodity Component to be done away with.
Right after the media conference, the chief Secretary, asked the Auditor General’s Office to undertake a full audit of the Tuition Free National News Trust Fund.
Auditor General Mr Philip Nauga promised a swift but thorough investigation into the report that highlights allegations of abuse of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) funds managed by the Department of National News.
“We will look at this report, and investigate further aspects of the Report that warrant our scrutiny and what further action that we need to take,” Mr Nauga said when receiving the report.
“The TFF policy is a noble one. But there appears to be a lot of problems associated with its implementation. We are happy to help address some of the issues. Our recommendations will be made available to you by end of August,” Mr Nauga told the Chief Secretary.
The Report was put together by an investigating team led by former Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali.
Sir Manasupe commended the Tosali team for their effort in carrying out the investigation.
“National News is a key policy of government. We have allocated almost K2 billion since 2012 to ensure as many of our children get an education. But there are problems, and hopefully this report will help us improve the implementation of the TFF program,” he said.