O’Neill: DSIP not for polls

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DISTRICT services improvement programme (DSIP) funds are not election funds for the general election next year, Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill told parliament yesterday.
He said DSIP funds “are a deliberate national government intervention in bringing services to the remote districts in the country”.
He was responding to queries from Telefomin MP Peter Iwei, who had asked when the government would release DSIP, district support grants and other constitutional grants under this year’s budget.
Iwei said this was the middle of the year, “with the elections around the corner and people are still waiting for their DSIP and DSG funds”.
He asked O’Neill, who promised to release K89 million DSIP funds for the 89 districts during the last session of parliament two weeks ago.
O’Neill said the warrants for the K89 million for all districts had been released by finance to the Office of Rural Development, which was supposed to deliver to each district treasury account.
“However, some of you members of parliament have failed to make acquittals of the funds for last year,” he said.
O’Neill said MPs who had acquitted their 2010 DSIP had started receiving their funding for this year.
Member for Wewak Moses Manwau, in a supplementary question, asked how some MPs would acquit their funds when the Form 11, an authorisation form bearing the signature of an MP, had been signed by public servants and not MPs.
“If MPs do not sign these forms, how do you expect us to acquit these funds?”
O’Neill said he was aware of specific issues raised by the Wewak MP and an investigation was being conducted.
But, he said, Form 11 was a legal document “and must be signed by MPs to get government funding”.