Call made for more autonomy

National

By PETER ESILA
A review of decentralisation in Papua New Guinea by the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) has called for greater autonomy to provinces.
CLRC Secretary Dr Eric Kwa told the 2017 PNG Update Forum at the University of PNG in Port Moresby last week that provinces
must be allowed to do their own thing.
‘’They must raise their own revenue, employ their own public servants and must deliver according to their own programmes
because they have their own special needs,” he said.
‘’We must give confidence to our people and to the system.’’
He stressed that the local level government should be removed and the district and provincial service improvement
programme funds must be locked into budgets.
‘’Enough of these discretionary spending by our honorary elected MPs,’’ Kwa said.
‘’They must submit their budget to tell us what they are going to use the K10 million for on top of the budget they are getting from the national budget.
‘’There must be proper processes or acquittals.”
Kwa said there must also be clear boundaries of responsibilities between provincial governments, district development authority boards and now the three additional municipal authorities in Mt Hagen, Lae and Kokopo city councils.
‘’We hope that through those changes, we can at least see improvements in delivering services to our people.’’
Kwa added that the funds allocated to provinces, districts and LLGs were used up by the presidents, ward councillors, MPs and board members because they needed to pay for their sitting allowances, travel, accommodation and vehicle allowances.
‘’This money going to the LLGs and districts is all being used up by administration,” Kwa said.
‘’Therefore we need to get rid of some layers of government so we can allow the funds to flow straight for health, education, roads and bridges.”

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