B’ville elders to get budget priority

National, Normal

The National, Mondy 14th November 2011

THE councils of elders in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will receive more in their annual support grants next year to maintain peace and good order in the communities, President John Momis says.
He said the increased budgetary support would also allow for the councils to provide assistance to the region’s health and education programmes, agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
But Momis said the increased budget to the councils would only be possible if the Autonomous Bougainville government was allowed to determine the use of the K100 million allocated to it by the national government next year.
The K100 million expected to be factored into the 2012 national budget is part of the K500 million commitment by the national government for Bougainville over the next five years.
Momis said the region’s 40 councils were allocated K55,000 in grants annually which were mainly tied to the administrative needs of the councils and allowances for peace officers and village court magistrates.
He said because of this, there was hardly any funds allocated for village-based projects which the councils were expected to deliver.
He said before the Bougainville crisis, village-based projects were non-existent due to the insufficient funding.
Momis said his government was committed to upgrading the council system and would ensure the councils were adequately funded.