Minister assures former soldiers

National, Normal

THE government has assured ex-servicemen and their families that it will pay their entitlements next week.
Public Service and Finance and Treasury Minister Peter O’Neill gave the assurance at the PNGDF headquarters at Murray Barracks, Port Moresby, last Tuesday.
O’Neill said it was the government’s responsibility to work around a legal framework.
“You are citizens of Papua New Guinea who have served your country well. Therefore, you are entitled to your funds.
“The government is only the custodian and should resolve the problem as soon as possible,” O’Neill said.
“In the next two weeks, the government will commence payments to individual ex-servicemen for their services to the country,” he told more than 700 men, women and children.
Prior to addressing the crowd, the secretaries from the departments of Attorney-General, Prime Minister and NEC, Personnel Management, Finance and Treasury, and Defence Force met and agreed that a task force
be set up to address the issue.
O’Neill said the task force would be housed fulltime at the Murray Barracks.
Also present were secretaries Margaret Elias (Prime Minister and NEC), John Kali (Personnel Management), Gabriel Yer (Finance), Simon Tosali (Treasury), Neville Devete (State Solicitors)
and the PNGDF Commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi
and secretary Frederick Punangi.
The meeting eventuated following a protest early this month by angry ex-servicemen at the Department of Prime Minister and NEC’s Morauta House office, demanding their long-awaited entitlements.