By GYNNIE KERO
NINE Cabinet Ministers are taking on extra portfolios after the decommissioning of their former colleagues who left last week to join the Opposition.
Prime Minister James Marape told The National that nine of the 12 Cabinet ministers who joined the Opposition at the Crowne Hotel last week had been decommissioned.
Commerce and Industry Minister William Duma has since returned to the Government side.
The two yet to be decommissioned are Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Patrick Pruaitch and Housing and Urban Development Minister Justin Tkatchenko.
“A few have been decommissioned. The rest not decommissioned (yet). We will work it through,” Marape said.
The nine decommissioned are Sam Basil (National Planning and Monitoring), Sasindran Muthuvel (State Enterprises), Joseph Yopyyopy (Education), Davis Steven (Attorney-General and Justice), Lekwa Gure (Civil Aviation), Nick Kuman (Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology), Sir Puka Temu (Health and HIV/AIDS), Chris Nangoi (Correctional Services), and Westley Nukundj (Immigration and Border Security).
Basil is also no longer deputy prime minister.
According to a national gazette dated Nov 16, their portfolios have been taken over by:
- Inter Government Relations Minister Pila Niningi who also becomes Justice Minister and Attorney General;
- Finance Minister Rainbo Paita who is also Minister for National Planning and Monitoring;
- Civil Aviation Minister Jelta Wong who also takes over the State Enterprises portfolio;
- Defence Minister Saki Soloma who will also look after Correctional Services;
- Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon who is also Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS;
- Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom who takes on the Immigration and Border Security portfolio.
- Lands Minister John Rosso’s additional ministry is Education;
- Energy Minister William Onglo will also be in charge of the Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology ministry; and,
- Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua who will also look after the Labour and Industrial Relations ministry.
Yesterday, Niningi visited the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and was introduced to the section heads.
“I’m not here to make any change or disturb the system. I don’t interfere with public servants,” he said.