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Port Moresby
January 20, 2021

No Consultation, No City Commission

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So far there hasn’t been meaningful discussions between the Lae MP, Loujaya Kouza, and the Provincial Executive Council.

The PEC says Kouza bypassed Morobe’s Provincial Executive Council – an unconstitutional move, the PEC calls it.


The Provincial Executive Council, are waiting for a round table discussion on the issue.

Earlier today, a team headed by Deputy Governor, Judas Nalau, maintained their stand against the proposed Lae City Commission. 


“We will mantain our stand by opposing the commission…it was their idea to set up the commission… we asked for proper dialogue, they failed to talk to us…”, the deputy governor said.


What has come out from the debate is nothing new.


The Lae MP is  maintaining her position on establishing a City Commission. This was her response in a previous interview last week.


“I want to remind everyone that Lae City Commission is a call from the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neil”, Kouza said.


There are perceived advantages of having a City Commission. More money, better services  and less complaints by Lae residents.


The Lae City Council  gets just about 4 million kina to administer the city, which is inadequate.


A total budget that would be required to operate Lae city is nearly a billion kina.


And that establishing a city commission is seen as the possible solution to the problem.


What that has been happening over the past month have been a war of words between the provincial leaders.


The concern was that if Lae becomes a Commission, the other 8 districts will be left out from the benefits.


Morobeans say they are benefiting enough and that the establishment of the city commission, will cut them off from all the benefits they are currently getting.


“If Lae becomes a commission, the landowners won't benefit from it…they will e forgotten”, said Sam Agi, a LLG council president. 


The Prime Minister earlier this month stated that a committee will be sent to Lae to assess the matter.


Two weeks later after the PM’s visit, the Chief Secretary, Manasuper Zurenuoc, came to Lae and had a closed door meeting with the Morobe Governor.


Zurenuoc says,  the name of the authority responsible for Lae city is irrelevant. It can be called a City Council or a Commission.  What’s needed are legislative changes that allow for more money to be sent from Port Moresby to Lae.


What’s come to the fore has been the debate over control and power between – Loujaya Kouza and the Tutumang.


LLG presidents and village councilors meanwhile,  have expressed disapproval.


While the issue continues, Morobeans have sounded a warning that they will take actions to get the attention of Ms. Kouza and the government, if they don’t negotiate with them.


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