By HELEN TARAWA
NORTHERN Governor Gary Juffa has called on the Government to release money owed to the Northern people.
Juffa spoke during the visit of the government ministers to the opening of the Kumusi Bridge last week to point out that certain funds were being held in trust by the Kumul Consolidated Holdings.
He told Deputy Prime Minister Sir Leo Dion, National Planning Minister Charles Abel and Youth, Religion and Community Development Minister Delilah Gore that almost K90 million was owed to Northern, Milne Bay and New Ireland.
“I was very pleased that this government endorsed in 2013 for the National Executive Council to allow the release of those funds to the provinces so we may use the funds to repair our roads for our oil palm growers and our farmers,” Juffa said.
“Those roads have deteriorated significantly due to lack of funds and as a result we are sitting here asking the national government to come good on the decisions they made in 2013.”
Juffa said that disaster funds were still owed to the province and another K10 million promised by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for tourism development was pending.
“For some reasons, those funds were locked up. A small portion of it was paid and the rest were not paid,” he said.
“I’m talking about significant amounts – hundreds of millions – it was budgeted for so it is by law that the people of this province are entitled to those funds.
“We still have 130 classrooms that were washed away and have not been returned to their normal state.
“Bridges, other roads and minor infrastructure that were damaged have not been repaired.
“We are your people and those funds would be very useful. We may not have the gold, gas, oil and all the other extractive resources that cause fascination in the globalised world.
“However, we still have the people and we are shareholders of this nation. We, too, are entitled to these services.
“The K10 million promised at Oro Bay by O’Neill is still outstanding for tourism development.
“This will greatly enhance my people’s opportunities in the tourism industry.
“We are fascinated with tourism and agriculture and that’s where we want to pour our energy.”
By HELEN TARAWA