By Stanley Ove Jr – EMTV Port Moresby
The Southern Highlands Provincial Government is yet to receive funds of over K96 million budgeted for 2015 and 2016. This was revealed by Southern Highlands Governor, William Powi, in a recent Provincial Executive Council (PEC) meeting.
Governor Powi, who is also the chairman of the PEC, said the Treasury, Finance and National Planning Departments in failing to release these development funds are breaching the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA) of 2009 and other Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) under the gas and oil projects in the province.
The outstanding funds include:
• Provincial Services Improvement Program Funds (PSIP): K19 million
• Kutubu Development Levy: K45 million
• Gobe Development Levy: K8.2 million
• Infrastructure Development Fund: K10 million
• Unit’se Development Levy: K5 million
• High Impact Project Funds: K30 million
Governor Powi said Waigani does not have any right to hold back development funds as these are needed to carry out key development projects in the province, especially in oil and gas project impacted areas.
Out of the K160 million budgeted for this year Powi said the provincial government has only received K60 million.
He said the scenario of funds not released does not mean the country has gone bankrupt; rather it is the government departments that are responsible by delaying the process of releasing funds.