Govt reviews statutory leases, plans centralisation

National

By HELEN TARAWA
THE Department of Personnel Management has started an audit of all government department offices to establish their space occupancy in Port Moresby and other provincial towns.
Secretary John Kali confirmed that certain government officers were locked out of their offices because of non-payment of rentals, adding that part of the exercise was to relocate all departments to the Waigani Central Government Offices (CGO).
He told The National that the Ombudsman Commission, Public Solicitors’ Office and the National Statistics Office were among   departments locked out yesterday.
Ombudsman Richard Pagen said they were locked out of their office at The Tower (former Deloitte Tower) since Friday night over non-payment of rentals for May, June and July.
He said the Finance Department was consistent in paying the rentals to Nasfund PNG, the property owners, and yet Nasfund had not invoiced them for the three months.
Pagen said although part payment was made on Friday, the property managers decided to lock them out.
“We were told to evict the building for non-payment of three months’ rental so part-payment of the bill was settled. But they went ahead and locked us out,” Pagen said.
“Although they have let us in and was back to normal business yesterday, the manner in which they have handled this matter is unacceptable.”
Kali said his department was reviewing current leases, both for Port Moresby and other provincial centres. “We are reviewing all current lease arrangements and will have an audit of all government departments and their offices,” Kali said.
“The audit will help us establish space occupancy by government departments in NCD and nationwide.
“Waigani is the seat of government. We would like to relocate as many government departments as we can to one location.”
Kali said they would be relocating most government departments away from the current expensive rental lease arrangements.

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