Sandaun province tables K53.4 million budget

Momase, Normal

THE Sandaun provincial government handed down a K53.4 million budget for next year on Dec 16. This is less compared to K62.255 million this year.
The reduction of some K8.8 million is mainly related to the district service improvement programme funds not being factored into this year’s budget and lower national grants as a result of the general slowing down in economic activity expected next year.
Internal revenue is forecast at K4.1 million, slightly up from the 2009 estimates of K3.8 million.
With much of the Government grants tied to recurrent expenditure, Sandaun Governor Simon Solo is putting all available funds in transport infrastructure, health and education.
Linking the hinterlands of Sandaun province to the sea ports of Vanimo and Aitape and both ports to each other is the over-riding concern of the provincial government, Mr Solo said.
Transport infrastructure, therefore, once again forms the major focus of the Sandaun provincial government next year.
Mr Solo, who is also chairman of finance, planning and implementation, told the provincial assembly at its budget sitting on Dec 16, that he would not deviate from his stand to connect all districts to the provincial capital, Vanimo.
He said in a statement: “Transport infrastructure provide an important catalyst for self-help and people-pushed socio-economic development.
“Good roads, bridges, airstrips and sea transport provide the means for people to access markets for their goods.
“Transport infrastructure encourage people to become more productive and self sufficient.”
From the recurrent budget, transport infrastructure maintenance has been allocated K2.469 million next year compared with K1.812 million this year.
Nearly K1 million is allocated for air charters to connect remote areas particularly in the Telifomin district.
A third level operator, North Coast Aviation, has been engaged to do twice monthly runs for pay runs and to deliver supplies.
A total K900,000 has been committed to this out of K1,405,500 allocated for next year.
Health function grant for next year has increased substantially, from this year’s K1.882 million to K3.351 million
Education has also increased from K1.809 million this year to K2.755 million next year.
Teachers and public service salaries have received the biggest slice of the budget with K20.5196 million (K19.6023 million this year) and K8.996 million (K8.734 million this year).
Public servants leave fares have been allocated K669,000 while teachers have been allocated K1.034 million for the same purpose.
Other notable expenditures include :
* Village court function – K233,800;
* Primary industry services grant – K382,000;
* LLG and village services grant – K1.9265 million; and
* Provincial services improvement – K1 million.
Non-discretionary components of the four Open MPs allocations of K250,000 each totalling K1.25 million will be decided by individual districts’ joint district planning and budget priorities committees.
The governor’s provincial services improvement programme allocation of K1 million will be used for development programmes.
The Sandaun budget for next year will be presented to Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch for endorsement before implementation.