The National, Thursday July 5th, 2012
By ELIAS NANAU in Vanimo
AITAPE East local level government president Dominic Meidom is concerned that the majority of the rural population are missing out on fundamental government services because of insufficient funding for service delivery.
In his first term, Meidom said his local level government operated on an annual budget of K200,800, most of which was primarily spent on office administration and paying monthly K200 allowance for ward councillors.
He said the funding was a national government grant apart from K10,000 from the Sandaun provincial government budget.
“When it’s budgeted, we find that there is no money to fund projects in our wards,” he said.
Meidom has now appealed to the new national government to seriously consider increasing funding for local level governments.
He said local level governments were the best government to deliver services to people as they had an in-depth insight into the needs of people at ward level.
“I am strongly urging the incoming government to recognise local level governments as key assessors and service delivery government.”
He said the past five years had seen local level governments being disengaged as a sister government to the national government when it concerned service delivery.
“Our feeder roads are the responsibility of the local level governments.
“There should be funds made available to maintain roads in order for government officers and farmers to use,” he said.
Meidom said if basic service delivery such as road infrastructure, health and education were restored and functioning at ward levels, this should signal the government’s recognition of women, youth and children.
He said this would spark agricultural economic boom at ward level and create a bigger development impact.
“We are still working on the village profile. It’s a fundamental idea that will provide information about the real need that people have.”
Meidom said the district services improvement programme funds were a good initiative but they had their own strict guidelines and policies and far worse was that the money could not be equally distributed to meet specific needs in each ward.