By ANTHONY KAYBING
THE joint supervisory board (JSB) has agreed to transfer five symbolic powers and functions to the Autonomous Bougainville Government as part of the drawing down of powers from the National Government.
The agreement followed resolutions passed during the last JSB meeting for this year that was held in Buka last Tuesday.
It had been noted by the JSB that a draft National Executive Council (NEC) submission had been made for the transfer of these powers and it had already been approved by the State Solicitor which is expected to be submitted to the NEC.
Consideration was also given to the proposed transfer of mineral resource and policing powers and functions to the Bougainville government.
Issues in relation to the non-renewable minerals, mining, oil and gas, had been deferred to the next JSB meeting to enable the Bougainville executive council to consider the 15 indicated steps in the agreement process.
With the transfer of policing powers, a working group of relevant National Government and ABG agencies would be engaged to oversee and identify the powers and functions of the police on Bougainville as part of the efforts to achieve a “greater autonomy” in policing arrangements in Bougainville.
The JSB also discussed the preparation for referendum which called for a working group made of senior ABG officials as well as representatives from the National Electoral Commission to examine constitutional, administrative and financial matters that may determine the initial outcome of Bougainville’s referendum.
At the official dinner hosted by the ABG to end the meeting, president of the autonomous region, James Tanis, congratulated the ABG and the National Government for reaching a consensus.
“Although we have gone through tough times often reaching a deadlock, I am happy that we now have come to an understanding,” Mr Tanis said.
Deputy Prime Minister Sir Dr Puka Temu shared the same sentiments, saying that Bougainville would remain a priority with the National Government.