Funding to be set for House maintenance

National, Normal

THE National Government has assured Speaker Jeffery Nape that funding will be identified for the maintenance and rehabilitation of Parliament.
The bad state of the House and its facilities has been a source of frustration for many MPs and Bululo MP Sam Basil used this to mount a bid to remove the Speaker but the bid failed.
The Government’s frontbench was shocked by the move when it became apparent many of
their backbenchers were going to support the move.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare visited Mr Nape last Friday morning to assure him of his support personally, and later gave the assurance for funding on the floor of Parliament.
Mr Nape said in a short statement to the media that on numerous occasions, he had been
accused by certain MPs for allowing the House to go down.
He said the building was 30 years old and no building could retain its original condition unless continuous maintenance and refurbishment was done to it.
“This means that funding must be allocated every year to cater for normal wear and tear.”
He said a submission was made to the Government in 2002 requesting K22 million for maintenance and refurbishment but to date, no money was given.
Mr Nape said last year, further technical/maintenance studies commissioned showed that about K50 to K60 million would be required to carry out maintenance and refurbishment.
“A submission was made to the Government last year and, to date, I have not received any money,” he said.
He said successive governments must share the blame for not allocating funds, allowing Parliament to deteriorate.
Mr Nape said funds allocated to Parliament in budgets were mainly for salaries and allowances for MPs and staff, utilities, service providers and the general operation of Parliament.