By JEFFREY ELAPA
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel says he has no intention of politicising the Eastern Highlands provincial budget as claimed by Governor Peter Numu.
A fuming Numu, after waiting for Abel all afternoon yesterday to present the 2019 budget, said he was kept waiting because he had joined the Opposition.
Abel saw red after Numu abruptly joined the Opposition in the last Parliament session and talked at length about how Government was helping Eastern Highlands despite an unappreciative governor.
Abel said yesterday he was not given notice of the presentation and attended to other meetings, including one with representatives of international financial institutions. He said he went to see Numu and his team from the Eastern Highlands provincial administration after his meetings, but they had left.
“I have been receiving all governors, whether in Opposition or Government,” Abel said.
Numu, his provincial executive council members and officers from provincial administration arrived at 1.30pm yesterday to present the budget, but were told to wait because Abel was in a meeting.
At around 2.30pm, an officer arrived and told Numu and his team to leave the Abel’s conference room on the 10th floor of the Treasury Building and go down to the 5th floor where the budget would be received.
Numu and his line-up from Goroka waited until 4.06pm then left. He said other governors had not been given the cold shoulder that Abel gave him.
Numu said he was reliably informed that Abel was in his office all the time, and not in a meeting.
“It’s OK,” he said. “The minister does not want to receive me for political reasons so I’ll go. I’ll leave the budget presentation to the provincial administrator and his administration as it is an administrative process. “
By JEFFREY ELAPA