Komo LLG chief wants better representation in LNG project

National, Normal

KOMO local level government (LLG) president Thomas Potape wants the people to be better represented in provincial decision making with the multi-billion kina LNG project taking shape in the province.
“To achieve this, the Organic Law needs to be amended to include LLG presidents in provincial executive council (PEC) meetings,” Mr Potape said.
Mr Potape said the Organic Law on Provincial and LLGs (OLPLLG) did not allow LLG presidents to attend the PEC meetings.
Provincial and LLG Affairs Minister Job Pomat said the problem arose when amendments were made to the OLPLLG.
Enga Governor Peter Ipatas has continued to involve LLG presidents in PEC meetings although the minister made it clear that presidents could not attend such meetings.
Mr Potape said LLG presidents were not members of the PEC and had no say on provincial planning and  budget decisions for the ward and council areas.
“LLG presidents are on the ground with the people all the time and know the problems faced by people in the ward, council and district level.
“The MP representing an open electorate is hardly on the ground and cannot reach the people, unlike LLG presidents.
“MPs do not live with the people all the time. The governor cannot reach all the districts and ward areas to know the problems afflicting the people,” Mr Potape said.
He said LLG presidents must sit in the provincial assembly meeting to facilitate development priorities on the ground.
“During provincial budget sessions presidents can contribute in debates on areas of priority,” he said.
“Komo will house the multi-billion-kina LNG project and we need to have a say at the PEC level. We need more say on what is happening on the ground.
“Although the LLG presidents can sit at the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee (JDP&BPC), the resource allocation by an MP at that level is limited.
“If an MP dislikes a group of people or area due to political affiliation, then they will miss out completely on project funding and services,” Mr Potape said.