The National – Monday, December 20, 2010
THERE will be no changes to heads of government departments and statutory bodies in the New Year but they are all required to start work on Jan 7 with the implementation of next year’s budget.
Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal issued the directive yesterday while denying rumours of changes in departments or at the cabinet level.
He also denied rumours last Thursday and over the weekend that sidelined Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had died from a heart attack.
“I appeal to all citizens to remain calm because Sir Michael is in good health and well.
“Those involved in spreading such malicious misinformation must be condemned,” Abal said, promising to ensure those responsible were brought to justice.
“I call on all Papua New Guineans to remain calm and pray for Sir Michael during this difficult time.”
He also said Jan 7 was the date set for implementation and departmental heads who had taken recreational leave had been recalled for duty.
“Departments must start rolling things out by January and not wait until February or March.
“We have capable ministers and departmental heads. There is no need for me to crack the whip,” the acting prime minister said, after noting that Papua New Guineans had the tendency to go on long extended holidays without getting things done.
“I ask for everyone’s cooperation in implementing the biggest budget in the country’s history.”
Before jetting off to Wewak yesterday morning, Sir Michael declared at the Jackson Airport: “I am well and fit. I am all right; there is nothing wrong with me. And, as you can see, I am still alive.
“I urge all people to keep calm during this festive season and to celebrate peacefully with their loved ones,” he said.