O’Neill: BDA has lost focus

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 17, 2011

THE National Border Authority has lost focus and the government is reviewing the structure of the organisation, Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
O’Neill told parliament during question time that the National Executive Council was concerned that the tendering process for the development of Wutung border post was flawed and had directed re-tendering.
He said the government was concerned about the border authority’s roles and responsibilities since it was established to service the border provinces.
“The Border Development Authority was set up to provide services to the provinces of Manus, Bougainville, West Sepik and Western,” he said.
O’Neill said there was no funding in the 2011 budget because the government received some funding from the Asian Development Bank to help the organisation.
“The government is concerned about its activities and we are reviewing its guidelines.
“I understand it has lost focus and once that review is completed we will take it to cabinet to restructure that organisation.”
O’Neill was responding to questions from Telefomin MP Peter Iwei, whose electorate shares a common border with Indonesia.
Iwei said even when the national government allocated substantial funding for border development, “the people along the border are yet to see any change in infrastructure development”.
“Many of my people, particularly at Yapsie and Tumbolbil, have moved across to Indonesia because of poor basic social services and economic activities.”
He said the K10 million provided by government through the district services improvement programme “is not sufficient to bring services because the electorate entirely depends on air transport”.
He called on the minister to explain the use of the substantial funding for border development.