Chairman ofthe New Ireland Autonomy Committee Sir Noel Levi says financial and administrative autonomy are key to achieving full autonomy. Betthese pre-requisit’s are absent inthe province.
However, Sir Noel says his committee is makingthese priorities amongthe many autonomy agendas.
New Ireland Province has a landmass of nine thousand six hundred square kilometers with a population of one hundred and sixty thousand people.
The locals are heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture despitethe lucrative Lihir Gold mine.
Asthe Province prepares for autonomy Sir Levi says it is important thatthe autonomous government must have a good financial foundation. The main task ofthe autonomy committee is to find ways tothe getthe money to underwrite autonomy.
The committee he says is focused on setting up a Bank of New Ireland asthe financial institution ofthe province. All money generated from its two minesthe Simberi and Lihir Gold mines and ther resources will be channeled through this bank.
The existing fisheries college inthe province will be upgraded to a University status to developthe human resource.
This is to ensurethe capacity ofthe public service is maintained to carry outthe work ofthe autonomous government.
Unlikethe Bougainville autonomythe New Ireland autonomy will be inthe framework ofthe constitution. This meansthe head ofthe province will still be called a governor and elections will be observed every five years.
The submission is now inthe hand ofthe National Government.
Mickey Kavera, National EMTV News