By Serah Aupong – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The PNG Church-State Partnership Program is facing some funding challenges.
These were discussed today during the Church Development Council meeting in Port Moresby.
While all the partners value the potential of the partnership, releasing the funding and government processes remain huge challenges for them.
The major sponsor for this partnership has been the PNG Government with an allocation of K25 million over 2014 and 2015.
This program aims to enhance the quality of education and health services that the churches provide throughout the country, which the partners say is vital to their programs.
The meeting today was opened by the planning minister, Charles Abel, who is the chair of the Church Development Council. The CDC oversees the partnership program.
The meeting reviewed implementation reports from 2014 to 2015 where some partners raised issues of funding.
Archbishop Clyde Igara, of the Anglican Church, said they did not receive any of their allocated funding.
“We must have waited too long to cash the education cheque because it bounced back by the time we tried to cash it,” he said while adding that the health component of their funding did not come through at all.
The meeting also heard that the secretariat that administers the program has not been receiving the funds it needed.
Currently, the secretariat is hosted by the United Church and they have used over K89,000 for operation costs.
Kali Sete, the United Church’s Development Secretary said this is straining an already limited amount of money they have and they will not be able to continue after May if they don’t get funding from the government to support the Secretariat.
Minister Abel told EMTV News that all the funds that the United Church have used will be reimbursed and that the Anglican Church will finally receive their allocated funds.
Minister Abel also said government funding towards this partnership has been reduced to K10 million this year due to “budget constraints and cash flow difficulties” the country is facing.