The National – Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By EVAH KUAMIN
AFTER months of worrying about their troubling financial situation, the Kokopo town market authority’s pleas has been heard.
The authority, which was formerly managed by the Kokopo-Vunamami local level government, owes more than a million kina to service providers.
Caretaker deputy town manager Peter Luluai revealed this yesterday.
He admitting that after the powers of managing the market was taken away from the LLG and given to the provincial government, the LLG was unable to pay off outstanding fees owed to service providers.
Town mayor Albert Buanga, who also to admitted the dilemma, said the LLG had been unable to source funding from its own pocket to bail out the market authority.
The market, he added, had been the biggest revenue generating arm of the LLG and was easily managed by his hierarchy.
Buanga, who was instrumental in sourcing funds to help the market authority, described the past year as challenging for both the LLG and market authority.
The closure of the Raniolo dump outside Kokopo also added to the problems already at hand.
Rubbish collected from within the town had to be taken all the way to Rabaul and dumped there which added to the costs of fuel and other transport costs.
Buanga said a submission, which was put through to the provincial executive council for just over K800,000 to assist with the debts owed by the market authority, was approved in the recent sitting a week ago.
Yesterday, Kokopo MP and Minister for Communication and Information Patrick Tammur handed over a cheque for K500,000 to the LLG and market authority under the district joint planning and budget priorities committee.
The money will be used to pay off some of the outstanding debts owing to service providers and is part of a K1million commitment made by Tammur to alleviate the LLG and market authority from its financial woes.
ENB Governor Leo Dion last week also presented K300,000 to the LLG after learning of the market authority’s plea.
Buanga affirmed that with the money, all debts owing to service providers would be paid off but with the challenge to continue operations and maintenance of the provincial market.
Tammur, when handing over the cheque for K500,000, called on the other three MPs – Paul Tiensten, Malakai Tabar and Dr Allan Marat – to also chip in and financially support the town.
Tammur reiterated that despite the fact the capital of the province was in his electorate, it was also fair that other MPs provide the attention and support it needed.