The National, Wednesday October 9th, 2013
THE National Executive Council has agreed to divert all infrastructure development grants (IDG) for major impact projects to the provincial governments.
This is because more than K550 million of IDGs have been misused by landowners.
National Planning Minister Charles Abel said the Government had disbursed K360 million in IDGs and K190 million for high impact projects (HIP) but nothing had been translated into infrastructure on the ground.
Abel said the Government had agreed to use the remaining IDGs through the PNG LNG project to seal the road from Mendi to Komoon, along the Highlands Highway, as requested by the governors of Hela and Southern Highlands.
He said all IDG funds would be controlled by the provincial government through the Works Department for the development of major impact projects.
Under the PNG LNG project, it was agreed that the Government would commit K120 million and K190 million respectively for business development grants and HIP for development projects.
However, it was found that a funding of K550 million has been mismanaged and the Government decided to stop the system of funding the landowners directly as cash handouts.
Abel said the funds would be transferred to the provincial government by strengthening the provincial works units of which 5% would be used to improve the provincial works units.
Under the arrangement, the landowners can still apply for contract and subcontracts depending on their capacity. But there would not be any free handouts.
Works Minister Francis Awesa said the Government was addressing the landowner issue correctly because a lot of money had been wasted over the years.