The National – Friday, June 24, 2011
By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
BOUGAINVILLE public servants owe the Autonomous Bougainville Government thousands of kina in unpaid rentals since 2005, the region’s public accounts committee (PAC) chairman Cosmas Sohia said.
Revealing its findings to members of the Bougainville House of Representatives during the assembly sitting on Wednesday, Sohia said the committee was “alarmed” that no rentals were paid by public servants for government and private accommodation since 2005.
“The failure of public servants to pay for government housing or private rentals means that the ABG misses out on hundreds of thousands of kina of internal revenue each financial year,” Sohia said.
He said that contributed to the backlog in government housing available for genuine applicants.
He said the money, if collected, could have been spent on building new houses for eligible public servants.
The PAC’s findings followed a recent inquiry into tenancy of government housing properties in Buka town, Hutjena and Sohano.
“These include the Bougainville administration having only a draft housing policy and that retired and retrenched public servants are still occupying government housing,” Sohia said.
He presented 10 recommendations, including:
* All public servants living in government housing start payment of rental by Aug 1;
* The Bougainville administration revises organisational structure to reduce differences in salary levels between the national and Bougainville public servants by July;
* The transfer of ownership of government housing from the National Housing Corporation to ABG is completed by November; and
* The PAC enquires into the awarding of contracts in Bougainville.
“The successful completion of this report is a first for the committee and it now puts PAC in a better position to successfully execute its roles and functions more thoroughly,” Sohia said.