Appeal for government support


THE autonomy committees of East New Britain (ENB) and New Ireland (NI) have jointly called on the government to empower both provinces financially so that they can deliver services.
They made the call on Friday following a joint committee meeting last week in Kokopo.
In a statement jointly signed by ENB autonomy committee chairman Sinai Brown, and NI autonomy chairman Noel Levi, both agreed that “quick action” needed to be taken to address a joint submission for the provinces seeking greater autonomy.
“We considered and discussed various issues of common concerns with respect to our pursuit for autonomy and the services delivery partnership agreement (SDPA),” the statement said.
“We request and encourage the national government to enter into dialogue and consultation process with the provinces of NI, ENB and Enga that have signed up to the SDPA.
“It is imperative that the three provinces that have signed up to the SDPA must be given financial capacity and ability to deliver services.”
The committees called on the government to establish a national autonomy co-ordinating office within the Ministry of Inter-Government Relations to coordinate, consult and facilitate the implementation of autonomy arrangements throughout the country.
The committees want to have dialogues with the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs to discuss the draw down process on the economic sector functions.
ENB got its greater autonomy on Oct 2, and NI was granted similar status shortly after.