The National, Monday 3rd June 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
THE Government has no specific funding for women, youth, churches and disabled people forcing the Lae district administration to find funds for them.
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Religion Loujaya Toni said this last Friday in Malahang, Lae, to counter criticisms that MPs, including herself, were using funds from other sectors outside their specific guidelines.
Addressing members of the Ahi Council of Women, the Lae MP said the government had recently allocated K10 million yearly for the joint district planning and budget priority committees. Each district gets K1 million each.
“There is no basket for women, youth, churches and disability. The baskets available are health, education, transport and infrastructure,” she said.
“Those are the only baskets. For this reason when you put your submissions and requests, it takes longer to get a response.
“If your request is close to health they take it (funds) out of health. If it’s closer to education funds are taken out from education and likewise for law and order and other sectors.
“Yes, there will be many questions and criticisms in the media by people who will question why the MP is taking funds out from one area to cover another area. I say yes, especially where women, youth, churches and disabilities are concerned.”
She promised to ask Public Service Minister Sir Puka Temu to set up separately “four baskets” with separate financial instructions and included in the 2014 national budget.