Referendum funds released, Maru says

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THE government has eventually funded the preparations for the Bougainville referendum with the release of K20 million, acting Finance Minister Richard Maru says.
Maru told The National that the funds were released on time to the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC).
He said the Department of Finance had helped created a main holding account with Bank of PNG and two subsidiary accounts of BRC Electoral and BRC Non-electoral with Bank South Pacific to hold funds for implementing the referendum.
“The budget draws down and transfers are managed by the National Coordination Office Bougainville Affairs (NCPOBA); the agency responsible.
“The Department of Finance has supported NCPOBA through training of staff and installing the integrated finance management system to execute the accounting process in the system.
“This arrangement and support is working well.” Maru said the first K10 million of the budget funds were transferred in two lots of K5 million in February and April and the second and final K10m was transferred on Wednesday.
“Funds are now available to support the referendum exercise and we stand ready to support the BRC conduct the referendum,” he said.
“I appeal to the ABG to adhere to all legal and compliance requirements of the Public Finance Management Act in the use of these funds to support the referendum exercise.”