Momis slams spending claims


AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Government President Dr John Momis has refuted claims by its regional MP Joe Lera of improper spending and non-provision of acquittals by the government since its inception in 2005.
Lera had claimed that the ABG was not receiving its constitutionally guaranteed grants because of the failure by the government to comply with the Public Finance Management Act.
According to Momis, Lera’s statement was not only misleading and insensitive but also showed his ignorance on the funding arrangements under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) despite his seven years as a national MP.
Under clause 149 of the BPA, the national government is required to provide the ABG a recurrent unconditional grant, restoration and development grant, specific purpose conditional grant (such as the police grant) and a one-off establishment grant (which was paid in 2005).
Momis explained that the restoration and development grant (RDG) was instituted to help finance the restoration, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the infrastructure and services destroyed during the conflict.
“The RDG is appropriated in the ABG annual budget and spent on ABG priority programmes and projects such as rebuilding health and education facilities, community development and law and order,” he said.
“Although there is an agreed formula for calculating the RDG in the BPA, this grant has either remained at K15 million or less per annum.”
In the 2019, the national budget the national government decided not to give the RDG to the ABG.
Momis said the national government had acted in breach of the national Constitution by not adhering to the BPA when it consistently underfunded the ABG.
“As the people’s representative in national parliament, Lera should be advocating for these funds to be paid to the ABG,” Momis said,
“The acquittals that Lera made reference to are reported through the normal financial reporting processes; annual financial statements and quarterly reports to the national Department of Treasury.
“However, since 2017, the ABG has been reporting to the Treasury on a monthly basis on the use of these funds.”
Momis said Lera was welcome to obtain copies of the reports sent to the national Department of Treasury from the ABG Department of Finance and Treasury.