The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013
I HAVE said it before and repeat again that no matter how much money Peter O’Neill wishes to pump into districts, the money will not achieve the development agenda that the government preaches.
O’Neill’s district authorities model will not work but instead, the money will melt away like ice because of corruption.
It may work for him in Ialibu-Pangia, but surely not for the neighbouring electorate of Kagua-Erave where I come from.
I leave it to others to comment on their respective districts.
The model will not work for as long as politicians are allowed to be gatekeepers of finance.
The millions of kina pumped into districts through the Joint District Planning and Budget Priority Committees (JDP&BPC) and District Services Improvement Programme (DSIP) have not produced results, but have instead created a fertile environment for corruption to grow deep roots into government systems.
The district authorities concept is the same thing as the JDP&BPC except for a name change.
It is a cargo cult scheme devised to finance the political interests and survival of politicians.
The JDP&BPC, DSIP or district authorities are mere instruments the ruling government uses to finance and lure politicians to support them.
However, in all fairness, the financial transfer arrangements that target districts and rural areas are a step in the right direction.
O’Neill gets my vote for his visionary ideas.
He has the right attitude in targeting districts and rural areas, but what I disagree with is the model and system that have not worked in delivering results.
It is unfair and morally wrong for a prime minister to increase huge capital or money transfer to a system that is not working.
This is the crux of the argument.
This policy only serves to raise the suspicion that O’Neill is merely trying to brainwash politicians into supporting some constitutional amendments. It is an issue that drives fear into many citizens.
Finally, if O’Neill is genuine about developing districts and improving the lifestyles of the rural populace, he has to redesign the structure and process to ensure that the “house is not built on swamps”.
Politicians must not be allowed to access or use public finances as though it was for their private use.
They must set the policy and make budget allocations and let public servants manage the public finances.
District administrators must be appointed on merit through proper recruitment processes.
All these features must be reviewed to devise a structure that removes political interference.
Unless and until these facets are examined and reviewed to be effective and efficient models, O’Neill’s district authorities will fail to deliver but will instead promote corruption to unprecedented levels.