By GYNNIE KERO
A MAJOR housing project in Port Moresby needs another K7 million from the Government after exhausting the initial K11 million it was allocated, it has been revealed.
The Department of National Planning and Monitoring however said it could not right now release the K7m to the National Housing Corporation for the Durand Farm Housing Project because of the expenditure cuts in the supplementary budget.
Department Secretary Hakaua Harry denied a claim that the K11m had not been fully acquitted.
“Normal budgetary process requires the submission of cash flows and work programmes as well as the implementation reports both physical and financial before funds are released,” she said.
“We had requested an implementation report which was received and verified. However we were unable to release the funds to NHC given the reductions made in the supplementary budget.”
The Durand Farm project is an initiative by the National Housing Corporation to address the shortage of affordable housing for public servants and residents in Port Moresby.
It is understood that the NHC is yet to properly acquit for the first K11 million it received from the Government, and needs the extra K7m to keep the project moving.
Efforts to get a comment from NHC this week have been unsuccessful.
But former project manager Paul Siwi told The National that the project needed the extra K7 million to pay for the engineers and designers but the Government was yet to pay.
Harry said the department did not refuse to release the K7 million for the housing project.
“The Durand project was a component of the larger National Land and Housing Project,” she said.
“The aim of the National Land and Housing project is to provide affordable housing and make land accessible for development purpose.
“The affordable housing component aims to provide 40,000 homes by 2017. Durand Farm falls under this component.”
Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Charles Abel told The National that the Government would continue to fund the Durand Farm Housing Project at Eight-Mile when funding became available.
Abel said the Government had undertaken a number of programmes to address the chronic housing shortage in Port Moresby and other districts in the country.
Besides the Durand Farm, he said the department was working with the Lands Department on another housing project at Gerehu (3B) in Port Moresby.
By GYNNIE KERO