By GYNNIE KERO DWU Journalism student
COUNCILLORS from the 26 local level government areas in East Sepik province have petitioned the provincial administration over their longstanding grievances which include an increase in allowances, delay in the receipt of their goods and services grants and payments of outstanding allowances.
They have been pursuing their grievances on five issues such as the LLGs goods and services grants, the outstanding eight-month councillor’s allowances, K200 increase of councillors’ allowances by next year, an incorporate plan for each LLG or district and the 26 LLGs’ K10,000 share from the South Sea Tuna factory in Wewak.
The presentation and receiving of the petition, which took place outside the provincial assembly hall car park, was spearheaded by councillors from the Wewak rural and urban LLG with the support from councillors in from Wewak Island, Turubu, Boiken-Dagua, and LLGs in the Yangoru-Sausia and Angoram districts.
Provincial administration Samson Torovi, upon receiving the petition, told the councillors that the administration was able to hand out the grants now but asked to put a halt on the grants till each LLG completed its financial report and have in place a plan on how to spend the money before cheques can be released.
He told the councillors that the administration’s stand on being transparent and warned the councillors that if they misused the grants, then auditors would catch up on them.
Mr Torovi said the administration had K200,000 in the internal revenue which would not be sufficient to pay all councillors the allowances for the last eight months and also he would not be able to deal with other issues in the petition because they were beyond his administrative power to make the decisions.
“I have no power to increase your allowances. The decision to increase allowance rests with the Salaries Numeration Committee and the National Executive Council.” Mr Torovi said.