IT is a grave concern that the prime minister, who is the minister for Bougainville affairs, has been too slow in transferring the remaining national government powers to Bougainville pursuant to the Sharp Agreement.
Although his decision to restructure NCOBA (National Coordination of Bougainville Affairs) to facilitate the transfer of remaining powers may help in some ways with the transfer, the key issue is management and leadership at the bureaucratic and political level.
That leadership is missing.
In 2012, when Ellison Towallom was the NCOBA director, over 30 per cent of the powers were transferred to the ABG (Autonomous Bougainville Government).
Since Towallom left, the transfer of powers became too stagnant.
From the experiences we had in 2012, the director would invite all national departmental heads and technical officers to a round table meeting with the NCOBA.
This would happen once in a month leading to a joint technical team conference and the JSB. In the meeting we would come up with strategies/methods of transferring powers which includes MOUs.
Departments that were reluctant to attend would be summoned to come to the conference.
This is not happening anymore.
Still there are 70 per cent of powers that are yet to be transferred.
At the political level , we need a full-time Minister for Bougainville Affairs to push for such conferences that would trigger immediate transfer of the remaining powers.
The PM needs to allocate the Ministry of Bougainville Affairs to the current Vice-Minister since he is a very busy person.
On the alternate we need the PM to allocate the Bougainville Affairs ministry to Sam Akoitai who is well versed with the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
It is over to you PM.
Karahai to Arawa