By DALE LUMA
THE new National Energy Authority (NEA) does not have money for its daily operational expenses, with around 18 short-term contract staff not paid for six months, an official says.
Authority executive manager, corporate, Samuel Petau, told The National yesterday when presenting a petition to the Treasury Department for the release of NEA funds that as a result the workers were owed more than K500,000 in salaries.
Treasury secretary Dairi Vele said the NEA “Budget allocation flowed through the Department of Petroleum and Energy”.
Petroleum and Energy secretary David Manau said he would see the petition to give an informed response.
Cabinet had earlier in the year approved an initial budget of K5 million for the establishment of NEA.
“Over the six months since the passing of the NEA Act on the 6th of July, we have not received any payments,” Petau said.
“We are continuing to work. There is an NEC decision of 2020 that was for the release of K5 million to set up the National Energy Authority.
“After that, we received only K2 million of which that money, went to Petroleum and Energy accounts and the NEA had difficulty accessing it.
“We requested for another K3 million which was the balance of it, that was not released. We are here to ask Treasury to release that money.
“Another NEC decision was made on the 14th of Sept for the immediate release of that K3 million from Treasury.
“They should have release that K3 million and K2million from the Petroleum and Energy accounts.
“While waiting for that money to be released, we opened a BSP operational account with assistance from Finance Department approval.
“All those money from the Treasury and Energy and Petroleum accounts should be released into that account for our operations. We didn’t get any money at all, no money was released to us.
“We got about 18 or 19 staff on short-term contracts and we didn’t pay them from July 6 when the act came into effect until now and fortnight by fortnight has accumulated and now NEA owes the short-term contract staff over half a million kina.
“We don’t have money for stationery, service providers, to pay other bills, even office equipment and not even fuel. All that money that is for operational expenses.
“It’s coming to the end of the year and it’s our concern that accounts are closing soon.
“When will Treasury honour the decision that NEC has given direction to at least release the balance of the K3 million.”
By DALE LUMA