Pok plans to modernise PNGDF

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013


DEFENCE Minister Fabian Pok yesterday outlined plans to modernise the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. 

“The platforms are, as part of the modernising of the force, in place and ready to be submitted to cabinet for approval,” Pok said in a press conference at the defence headquarters in Port Moresby

“This is as per the government instruction and will be made known on the floor of parliament.” 

He outlined the process of changes that will be taking place:

  • Set up of a tailor-made place where uniforms of soldiers will be tailored locally so that they will not run out of uniforms and there is a constant supply of uniforms for them to wear on duty; to ensure soldiers will not go looking for uniforms;
  • Amending the Defence Force Act that will enable soldiers to benefit from their Retirement Benefit Fund appropriately and accordingly; highlighting that servicemen can now serve the force and leave after five years with full entitlements, including contributions from the state and personal contributions will be received; the flaws in the current act will be rectified;
  • Home ownership scheme for soldiers;
  • Public tender will now be the approach in which contracts for projects to be done on defence facilities valued from K500,000 and over will be sent to the Central Tenders Board for public to bid in cooperation with the Public Solicitors Office to ensure that funds are used accordingly with the intended purpose, which had not been happening for many years and under the Public Finance Management Act;
  • Upgrading of gymnasium and swimming pool facilities for training purposes in which an K8 million grant was given by the Chinese Government for that purpose and the supply of troop carriers for military use;
  • Regrouping the military band;
  • Buying diving gear for soldiers;
  • Masters programme for soldiers to be sent to universities in Indonesia to attain further qualification;
  • Restoring water supply in Lombrum Naval Base in Manus and the facility will eventually be moved to higher ground;
  • The resealing of roads in Taurama and Murray barracks;
  • Plan to build regional barracks for the highlands region, and
  • Engage soldiers to work alongside government development projects especially in the rural areas.