Region, govt sign pact

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 22nd, 2013

 THE national and Bougainville governments signed a joint supervisory body resolution last Friday in Kokopo, East New Britain, to endorse their commitment and understanding about progress in the autonomous region.

The governments committed to continue working together in a spirit of cooperation and commitment to ensure that progress on implementation of Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements were fully realised.

However, there were some blunt exchanges on a number of topics and sharing of information.

The resolution, signed by Acting Prime Minister Leo Dion and Acting President of ABG Patrick Nisira, included nine aspects such as the 2014 ABG budget, Special Intervention Fund, Restoration and Development grants, transfers of powers, memorandum of understanding between the national government and ABG on capacity building, referendum on committee work, national government nominee for the Bougainville’s senior appointment committee for constitutional office holders and the transfer of the association incorporation power without the requirement for 12 months notice and the ABG administration capital.

The 2014 ABG budget request that has been presented to the budget screening committee (BSC), specifically for support of the new public service, parliamentary service, and the community auxiliary police will be dealt with by the BSC in the usual budget process.

An agreement was reached regarding the special intervention fund, allowing it to be appropriated at K100 million in 2014.

Both governments recognised that payments of the Restoration and Development Grants are constitutionally guaranteed and agreed that the national government is legally obliged to pay all outstanding grants

It is understood that the ABG President John Momis will travel to Port Moresby this week to meet with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to discuss the RDG.

A ministerial committee will later be established by ministers nominated by the PM and the President to address the calculation of the 2014 grants for inclusion in the 2014 national budget.

The first meeting of the ministerial committee is expected to be held this week after the meeting between O’Neill and Momis.