New Ireland okays K143 million budget

National, Normal

The National – Friday, December 24, 2010

NEW Ireland’s 2011 provincial budget appropriation is K143 million with the biggest portion to be focused on development.
Governor Sir Julius Chan, when handing down the budget yesterday, said since taking office, he had been working to reduce the amount spent on administration and increase the amount spent on development.
About K88.5 million of the K143 million is for development and K55 million for administration and recurrent activities. 
This means 62% of the budget is for development and 38% for administration.
The total expenditure by sector is as follows:
.   Social K38.5 million;
.   Law and order K2 million;
.   Economic and infrastructure K47.5 million; and
.  Administration K55 million.
In addition to these funds, there will be other funds available next year from the tax credit scheme under the Lihir Mining Agreement and from the New Ireland Trust Fund.
Sir Julius said this would give an additional K50 million, almost all of which would go to rehabilitation, maintenance or development expenditure.
He said the budget would go right down to the village level to improve the health of people. 
“There are 21 aid posts closed in New Ireland – 12 in Kavieng and nine in Namatanai.  This is intolerable.  We have over K2.1 million in the budget to reopen, repair, and build new aid posts. Our people will have good health care. Our ultimate goal is that no pregnant woman, old aged or disabled should have to walk over one hour to reach an aid post.”
Over K4 million has been earmarked for payments for the old aged and disabled. 
About K400,000 will be spent to improve the sanitation and sewerage system in Namatanai and a new rubbish dump would be developed so that the people of Namatanai do not have to be surrounded by trash and suffer from diseases and sicknesses that it brings.
NIP would continue with the free and subsidised education programme spending nearly K12 million for school fees. 
In addition, over K9 million has been committed for three new high schools at Nasko, New Hanover and Tanir, and K4.5 million into rehabilitation and maintenance of existing high schools and vocational schools.
Some K8 million will be spent as an initial investment in completing the Kokola-Burukalai-Palabong roads with more funds to be spent on the West Coast and in the Islands.  K1 million is earmarked to upgrade West Coast roads, bridges and culverts, and K6 million on Islands Ring Roads.
The people of Murat, Lavongai, Djaul, Tanga, Anir and Tabar as well as other islands who have suffered from poor roads and lack of access will be relieved.
“We are investing K3.6 million in general road maintenance so those roads we have rehabilitated and upgraded will remain useful for a long time while  K5 million will go towards sealing Lihir Ring road as soon as the Trust Fund held by MRDC is released.”
In the law and order sector, Sir Julius said nearly half a million kina would go to upgrading police cells and rural lockups.