The National, Tuesday 24th January 2012
By KEVIN TEME
PNG is behind schedule in preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Minister for Sports in the Peter O’Neill government, Sali Subam, said this while presenting a K20 million cheque to the PNG Sports Foundation yesterday to kick-start the preparation work to be carried out this year.
That money was initially promised to the Sports Foundation and PNG Sports Federation and Olympics Committee by the Somare government but was not released until this year when the O’Neill regime executed the commitment.
“We are two years behind schedule and it took the former government almost two years to release the funds but did not and no work has been carried out ever since until this year where I had to constantly pursue the Finance and Treasury Minister Don Polye to release the funds,” Subam said.
Subam said the money was from the 2011 supplementary budget allocation.
In this year’s budget, the O’Neill government allocated K180 million for the Games.
“The O’Neill government must be commended for recognising the role that sports plays in our country.
“Our people particularly sportsmen and women must applaud this government’s commitment,” he said.
Subam said the work to be done was considerable and although nothing had been done since winning the bid in 2009, a funding delay was what held everything back.
“It takes years to develop major sporting venues, facilities and infrastructure for major sporting event such as the Pacific Games and if the real benefits of hosting the Games are to be captured, then we need to get started as soon as possible,” Subam said
Subam said the k180 million allocated in this year’s budget for the SPG will be drawn down monthly by the department of Treasury and Finance in accordance with the expenditure projection provided by the PNG Sports Foundation and PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee to fund the games preparations.
“We are behind schedule and cannot delay any more. We must concentrate all our efforts and resources towards the proper organization and hosting of the 2015 SPG and we need every ones’ support in making this event a reality,” Subam said.
In receiving the K20 million cheque, PNGSF Iammo Launa said PNGSF had done its part in submitting its annual budget proposals for the 2010 and 2011 however they had nothing to start work.
“We are truly behind schedule since we won the bid in 2009. Although the various interim committee has done some work particularly the VIEC committee, there have been no funds to actually commence work.”
“We are grateful with the O’Neill – Namah government for the release of the k20 million for us to start work. We now hope that the Department of Treasury and Finance will release the k180 million monthly drawn downs on time so we can continue to work as we are behind time,” Launa said.