By MALUM NALU
A NATIONAL development template for the next five years is being drawn up at the Alotau camp as Peter O’Neill and his coalition partners prepare to form the government when Parliament sits tomorrow.
O’Neill, the leader of the People’s National Congress Party which has so far won 27 seats and invited by Government House to form the government, yesterday posed for a group picture with 29 other coalition MPs-elect outside their Alotau hotel.
He said they expected 10 more to join the coalition to consolidate their strength in Parliament.
“We will exceed the number required (56) to form government,” he said.
O’Neill said they had “set in motion” Alotau Accord II – the successor to the Alotau Accord I signed in 2012 at the same venue – to be the national development template for the next five years.
“We are working on the Alotau Accord,” he said.
The accord was to have been signed last night before the MPs-elect start ed returning to Port Moresby for the first sitting of Parliament tomorrow.
He said the accord “is going to guide us as the government over the next five years”.
“We look forward to implementing these programmes that we are going to list in the accord, as we have done in the first five years from 2012 to 2017.”
O’Neill said the Alotau Accord II would be looking at strengthening education, health and infrastructure. “The new things will be trying to boost our economy, rebuilding agriculture as one of the priorities to creating jobs and income opportunities for our people,” he said.
“Tourism is another big agenda for us.
“The reforms that we are going to do in the financial sector are particularly foreign exchange and controls in terms of taxation.
“We are trying to make sure that we broaden the tax base of our country as only a few people are paying taxes today. We have a huge population that is not paying tax.
“We are going to find a way to implement the reforms that are discussed in the Alotau Accord.”
O’Neill said the number of MPs-elect in Alotau spoke volumes about public confidence in him.
“You can see for yourself here,” he said.
“You can feel it, touch it. We can expect more (MPs-elect). Let’s wait for the numbers on the floor of Parliament.” He also wished the (rival camp) in Kokopo which has 44 MPs-elect the best of luck as they are also trying to form the government.
“We have no ill feeling or animosity against anyone,” he said.
“Once the government is settled down, we’ll work with everybody and try to drive the country forward.
“That’s what the people expect from us: Work together for the good of the country.”
By MALUM NALU