Law criticised

National

THE National Information and Communications Authority (Nicta) has criticised a new legislation allowing the Government to collect 90 per cent of revenue earned by its agencies, saying it is a hindrance to their operations.
The authority’s chief executive officer Charles Punaha told the 2018 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expo in Port Moresby yesterday that the Public Money Management Regularisation Act was affecting 59 ICT projects undertaken by the authority in partnership with other organisations.
The legislation allows the Government to collect 90 per cent of revenue earned by State-owned enterprises and put into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Nicta is the latest State-owned enterprise to raises its concern over the legislation passed by Parliament in 2017.
The PNG Forest Authority, National Fisheries Authority and PNG Chamber of Mines had also raised their concerns over the impact of the legislation on their operations.
Punaha said many of their ICT projects needed the money from the authority’s internal revenue to operate. But because it has been reduced by the Government, the important projects had been affected.
“We have certain challenges with our projects due to land issues, geographical locations because of the terrains and scattered populations, lack of electricity, small islands, high business and operational costs – all the impacts of the PMMR Act,” Punaha said.
Finance Minister James Marape recently said the legislation was not meant to impede service delivery but to “optimise the use of all public funds for their intended purposes which ultimately should be service delivery”.
He said many State agencies were operating outside the scrutiny of the Public Finance Management Act.
Punaha said the World Bank has allocated US$12 million (K39 million) for a cable project plus US$5 million (K16 million) to Digicel to complete 59 Greenfield sites around the country.
Punaha said the authority was happy to work with Digicel, Huawei and Telikom PNG over the next 10 years to complete the cable project in PNG.
The aim is to build ICT infrastructure to help people access services such as like health, education and transportation.

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