K160 million disaster fund in trust account, Marape says


FINANCE Minister and Tari-Pori MP James Marape told Parliament yesterday that US$50 million (K163m) sitting in a trust fund is to be remitted in a structured manner to provinces.
Responding to questions by North Fly MP James Donald about the K1m district services improvement programme (DSIP) funds that were being remitted to assist with disaster in the respective provinces, Marape said: “At that time when cabinet took the decision from the K450 million envelope of assistance to the disaster affected provinces, including, Enga, Southern, Highlands, Hela, Gulf and Western, it was for a period of four years.
“We remitted a million kina each to the affected districts. Those funds were taken from the DSIP allocations to be reimbursed from the funds collected for disaster relief.
“Those funds will be reimbursed in as far as the earthquake funds are concern. As we speak there is a US$50m sitting in a trust account to be remitted to programmes that have been established as a result of the earthquake.”
Marape said the money would be rolled out for infrastructure, especially those affected by the disaster — education, health and roads.
“That money is quarantined, sitting in the trust account waiting to be disbursed to the earthquake affected provinces and districts.”
In response to questions by Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo regarding funds being wrongly remitted to Komo-Margarima treasury operating accounts, Marape said he would get answers and report back to Parliament.
According to Isoaimo, a K1.9m DSIP fund belonging to Kairuku-Hiri was erroneously paid to Komo-Margarima on Jan 4, 2016.
He said a similar incident occurred when Kairuku-Hiri funds were remitted to Abau treasury.
“Correction was made and funds were transferred directly from Abau district treasuring,” Marape said.