PUBLIC Service Minister Peter O’Neill has blamed “bureaucratic slowdown” in the failure to deliver police housing in Lae, Morobe province, on time.
He wants public servants responsible to be severely reprimanded.
Mr O’Neill said failure by the Finance Department to release funds had resulted in the project at East Taraka being delayed by almost 12 months.
He said this meant police personnel and their families continued to live in rundown and condemned houses at Bumbu.
The project at East Taraka was meant to deliver 120 two-bedroom units at a cost of K20.8 million.
The units would be brick-built, fully furnished, and valued at around K180,000 each.
He said K5 million was released last year to the contractor to start work. But K15.8 million remained outstanding, and Waigani has not been able to release this money to the contractor to complete the project.
“I’m very disappointed.
“Policemen and women and their families are made to suffer because of incompetence in Waigani.
“There are people in the bureaucratic system, especially in the Finance Department, who are not doing their job,” Mr O’Neill said yesterday.
“If I had the powers to sack, they will be gone.”
Mr O’Neill’s ministry is charged with developing a number of housing schemes for public servants.
The Lae police housing project is one of them.
The Bumbu police barracks has been condemned as unfit for human habitation by health authorities.
Policemen and their families have moved out of the condemned houses to live with wantoks.
Some have crammed into the single quarters, making it very unsafe and unhygienic.
Businesses in Lae are worried about this, as unsettled police personnel may not attend to the city’s daily law and order needs.