Minister’s statement politically slanted, says Potape

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The National, Monday 12th December 2011

THE tabling in parliament of Public Investment Programme funds expended by the former government in various districts has been condemned.
Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape said the statement by the National Planning minister Sam Basil was incomplete and failed to look into the overall funding for all districts in the country.
He said Basil should not just look only at the PIP funds but others such as the World Bank funded projects, grants, donor funds and tax credit scheme funds.
He said Basil should see how much money the country had received from Komo-Margarima and Nipa-Kutubu and how much it had given back to the two districts, including the Kagua-Erave district, since oil started flowing out from there.
Potape said that if he had received such funds then there was nothing wrong with the funds expended because it was nothing compared to what the district gene­rated for the national coffers.
He said the Somare government saw it fit to fund projects during his term as the member and Basil should fund more such projects in the district.
“The minister must understand that K3 million has been coming out of the district every year since the first flow of oil.
“The minister must come and see the oil projects in Komo-Margarima and see where Moran, Southeast Mananda, Hides, Juha and other oil and gas projects are located.
“I also call on him to come and visit some of the projects funded in the district so that he can commit to more projects depending on the landmass and the population,” Potape said.
“He should also put more money into Nipa-Kutubu and Kagua-Erave because of the Kutubu oil in the Nipa-Kutubu and the Gobe oil fields in the Kagua-Erave districts.
“They were the saviours of this nation after the closure of Bougainville copper mine,” he added.
“I also urge the good minister to explain what funds went to what pro­jects.
“If landowners were paid then he should indicate that also than to use a statement for political point-scoring,” Potape said.
He said K66 million was paid to landowners by the government but the members of parliament were not aware how those funds were paid.
Potape said such report should be tabled as it was in the public interest because it involved public funds.