OVER the last 20 years, no Papua New Guinea prime minister or political party’s strategist seem to have understood the real purpose of provincial and local level government (LLG) reforms in the country.
When former prime minister Sir Julius Chan came up with the idea of introducing the provincial and LLGs years ago, I as the then deputy Pangu Pati leader for Mamose, I stood up with 13 MPs out of 23 Pangu Pati members in Parliament to support him and Peoples Progress Party to push the reform agendas in parliament and passed them.
The initial idea of the reform is to get parliament to legislate and allocate direct fundings annually under the district services improvement programme (DSIP) funds to LLGs so that service delivery, especially infrastructure such as roads, bridges, health and education can be built and maintained to serve the rural people to move freely in and out of their districts and provincial headquarters.
We tried to ensure that political structures conducted their affairs systematically between parliament, provincial and LLG assemblies. The Government, under Prime Minister James Marape, should consider abolishing the district development authorities (DDAs) and allow direct funding to all LLGs and district administration should.
The DDA system was created by former prime minister Peter O’Neill with his People’s National Congress party as a political tool for MPs to use public funds and remain in power.
Currently, our political structure allows for MPs to vote for the prime minister while governors are elected by the people and LLG presidents are elected by the wards councilors.
Marape and the National Executive Council should consider doing away with the provincial seats and create more provincial and open electorates and allow MPs to vote for governors.
All provincial and LLG assemblies should be allowed to create positions for ministers, speakers, clerks and opposition leaders similar to the parliament.
Allocation of an estimated K5miilon direct funding annually to all LLG would allow the assemblies to plan and create their own budget estimates and expenditures to push our rural areas forward.
Samson C Napo
Buang LLG, Bulolo