by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV, Buka
The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) will begin the process of tracking outstanding funds still owed to them by the Papua New Guinea National Government.
President Chief, Dr John Momis, says the autonomous government will strongly pursue the National Government to honour the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
President Momis speaking at the 10th anniversary celebrations in Buka on Monday this week, claimed that the National Government hasn’t fully honoured the Peace Agreement, especially on the grants provision.
He said that the ABG needs more broad-based development to bring improvements in people’s lives and with the limited funds, it cannot sustain livelihood.
“The main national government grants cover only basic costs of delivering services. We have little internal revenue. The agreement does provide a restoration and development grant, with a formula intended to increase when National Budget development expenditure rises,” said Momis.
By now, Bougainville annual grants should have increased to over K75 million because of the rising commodity prices, however it has remained on a steady rate on K15 million in most years.
“The National Government Special Intervention Funds since 2001 are helpful. But as conditional grants, they are no substitute for the restoration and development grant. The ABG has been trying for three years to get the peace agreement provisions on this grant honoured. We must peruse this matter vigorously, ” he said.
However, Acting Prime Minister, Grand Chief Leo Dion, said the National Government is committed to ensure Bougainville’s autonomy potential is realised.
ABG’s access to financial and other resources is critical in making a real difference to government capacity, restoration and development.
“Can be demonstrated through the K500 million over five years to be provided to the ABG through the Special Intervention Funds. In addition to the grants specified in the Bougainville Peace Agreement and implementing laws,” said the Acting Prime Minister.
Financial issues will be investigated by the National Government, in accordance with the Bougainville Peace Agreement relevant provisions.
“As the government, we are committed to continue building on the strategic framework not only for the autonomous arrangements to work but also for the maintenance of lasting peace by peaceful means in accordance with this very important agreement,” he said.